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Imperial County 





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Printed by Taylor & Taylor, San Fran 



It is related of Lord Byron that when a boy in school he, with his 
fellows, was required to write a paraphrase of the Biblical account of 
the miracle of turning water into wine; within a few moments he 
handed to his teacher this line : "The conscious water saw its God and 
blushed." Nothing could have been added which would have strength- 
ened or added beauty to the matchless setting. 

May we not, in humble imitation of that great genius, say of Im- 
perial Valley: Its fruitful soil was caressed by the wasting water of 
an unregarded river and blossomed in perennial beauty? The magic 
touch of the life-giving water was not an accident. It followed the 
most intense and unremitting efforts of big brained, big souled men, 
who wrought under such difficulties and discouragements as would 
have daunted smaller men. What heroes they were, and how richly 
they deserve the crowns today so grudgingly bestowed, but which the 
future will surely bestow upon them. 

And the pioneers who located the first ranches and planted the first 
crops — who can fitly write their heroic annals? Who tell of their pri- 
vations and sacrifices which resulted in making life within the magic 
borders of Imperial Valley the priceless heritage of man? Standing 
today by the grave of that infant civilization which blossomed, amid 
such hardships, upon a desert, we would fain lift the veil and see the 
unthought-of transformation which fifty years will bring. Even in 
infancy, a colossus, a giant, what will the years bring to this wonder 
land? It deserves a better, wiser, abler historian than any man alive 
today can be. F. C. Farr. 


Scarcely had Judge Finis C. Farr finished his work 
as editor of this history than death came unheralded 
to him with apoplexy. 

He was a man whose character had borne the tes- 
timonial of public office alike in Missouri, his native 
state, and in Imperial County, where he had been a 
participant in public affairs from the earliest of pio- 
neer days. At the time of his death he was Register of 
the United States Land Office at El Centro. 

He was a charter member of the Masonic Lodge at 
Imperial and an active member of the Imperial Coun- 
ty Bar Association, both of which organizations have 
been quick to spread upon their records testimonials to 
his ability and his character. 

In a sense, then, this book, representing practically 
the last of his many works for the public good, will be 
a monument to his memory, and in the years to come 
will be evidence of the high type of men who consti- 
tuted the pioneers of Imperial Valley, and who under- 
took to shape its development to the lasting good of 



Chapter I page 

History of Imperial County I 

Chapter II 
Formation of the Colorado Desert 82 

Chapter III 
Early History of Imperial County 97 

Chapter IV 
Irrigation 154 

Chapter V 
Educational 159 

Chapter VI 
Religious 167 

Chapter VII 
Library Development 177 

Chapter VIII 
Agriculture 184 

Chapter IX 
Horticulture 192 

Chapter X 
Imperial County Farm Bureau 198 

Chapter XI 
Medical History 209 

Chapter XII 
Journalism 219 

Chapter XIII 
Transportation 224 

Chapter XIV 
Banking 227 

Chapter XV 
Chambers of Commerce 233 


Chapter XVI page 

Fraternal 238 

Chapter XVII 
Architecture 243 

Chapter XVIII 
Federation of Women's Clubs 246 

Chapter XIX 
Woman's Christian Temperance Union 257 

Chapter XX 
Imperial 264 

Chapter XXI " 
Calexico 269 

Chapter XXII 
Brawley 272 

Chapter XXIII 
Holtville 274 

Chapter XXIV 
El Centro 279 

Chapter XXV 
Seeley 286 

Chapter XXVI 
Calipatria and Niland 287 

Chapter XXVII 
The Mud Volcanoes 291 

Chapter XXVIII 
Live-Stock 293 

Chapter XXIX 
The Northern District of Lower California 296 


Biographical 311 



The name California seems to have been derived from a Spanish 
romance published in 1510. The author there speaks of the 
"Great Island of California, where a great abundance of gold 
and precious stones are found." This story attained considerable pop- 
ularity about the time when the Cortez exploring expedition reached 
that undiscovered country. It is thought that some of the officers of 
that party who had read this romance were especially pleased with 
this name. It was euphonious and descriptive, as they had expected to 
find an Eldorado in that new region any way, because the early Span- 
ish discoverers had so promised. 

But at that time this name was applied only to the lower Pacific 
coast and the adjacent territory. And it is interesting to note here that 
this San Diego section was on the border line of Mexico, being then a 
part of that nation. It was not until some years later that the name 
California was applied to the upper part of that country, and it grad- 
ually extended northward, with no very definite limits. These Spanish 
Americans divided the whole territory into upper and lower Califor- 
nia, as it has since been known. The lower coast was first discovered in 
1534 by an expedition sent out by Cortez, who later found the Gulf of 
California. It was not until some six years later that the mouth of the 
Colorado River was discovered there. And it was not until 1602 that 
the Bay of San Diego was located. 

As a matter of fact the physical geography of a very large portion 
of this great country was very imperfectly known. Few of the resi- 
dents were even qualified to make any scientific study of its topography 
and very little attention was given to the subject, especially that portion 
lying on the immediate coast between San Diego on the south and Fort 
Ross on the north, a narrow strip of land forty or fifty miles in width. 
In fact the entire California region was a very indefinite quantity for 
many years, and the eastern boundary was not fully located or deter- 


mined. And this condition remained until 1850 when it passed into the 
ownership of the United States and became one of the states of the 

But this work is devoted to the southernmost point of the state known 
as Imperial County, which is the youngest and newest county of the 
great Pacific Commonwealth, having been formed in 1907 from the 
eastern portion of San Diego County. 

This Imperial Valley lies between the coast range of mountains and 
the Colorado River, a section long known as the Colorado Desert, and 
for ages considered worthless and irreclaimable. North of this great 
desert is the eastern extension of the San Bernardino mountain range, 
dry, barren and worthless. On the west the Coast range rises to a height 
of from 3000 to 5000 feet, which, on the desert side, is also dry and 
barren. Through the eastern part of this desert is a range of sand-dunes 
which extends down across the international boundary line, terminating 
just below. Between these sand-dunes on the east and the Coast range 
on the west, there is a vast, level plain which, before its reclamation, 
was as dry and barren as the hills and sand-dunes themselves. Most of 
this plain is below sea level, and was originally an extension of the Cali- 
fornia Gulf. 

Some sixty miles south of this Mexican boundary line the great Colo- 
rado River tumbles finally into the gulf. It is a very muddy stream 
which has poured into this gulf for untold ages. When the gulf reached 
the present site of Indio Station, the river poured into it about 150 miles 
southeast of that place. This gulf was then some 50 miles wide opposite 
the ancient mouth of the river. Gradually the Colorado formed a bar 
across the gulf. After a time this bar was raised several feet above high- 
water mark, and this cut off the upper portion of the gulf from the 
main body of water and formed an inland sea some 40 miles in width 
by 125 miles in length. It will be seen, therefore, that the flow of this 
river for ages has been in both directions, into the gulf and into this in- 
land sea. In this way large masses of sediment were deposited in both 
places not only, but a separating bar was raised 35 to 80 feet above sea 
level, an increase of about 60 miles in width from south to north. 

Sometime after this the Colorado began to pour its regular flow into 
the gulf, and only in times of flood, during June and July, was the 
surplus water sent into the inland sea. Then finally, when the permanent 


flow northward ceased, this inland sea gradually dried up, leaving what 
is known as the "Salton Basin," a tract 100 miles long and from 20 to 
50 miles wide. And this vast area was all below the level of the sea. The 
bottom was a salt marsh 5 x 25 miles in extent, and 265 feet below the 
sea, while the surrounding land sloped gradually toward this depression. 
Here in this sink the Salton Sea was formed in 1891 as a result of the 
long continued flood of the Colorado stream. It began with heavy rains 
in February and was afterward augmented by the regular annual flood 
in June and July, because of the melting snows at the headwaters of the 
stream in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado. About 150 square miles of 
this Salton Sea was so level that the water did not exceed 10 feet in 
depth at any point. All around this sea were a million acres of land be- 
low sea level, half of which is arable, irrigable, and especially fertile. 
In addition to this, there is a vast expanse of country south of the inter- 
national boundary line which extends to the Gulf of California on the 
east. Most of this is the most fertile and productive land in the world, 
and it covers about 800,000 acres. Of this vast tract, 300,000 acres are 
irrigable. A similar acreage is subject to the annual flood overflow and 
some 100,000 acres are of little value from other causes. 


Here was a golden opportunity to test the value of irrigation on a colos- 
sal scale. It was destined to reclaim millions of acres of the most fertile 
land on the globe, from this vast California section which had been 
given up as a worthless desert since its first discovery. It took men of 
courage and indomitable persistence with a full knowledge of all the 
conditions and obstacles that might present themselves, even to begin 
this stupendous work. And yet with such a prize, with such glowing 
possibilities as the reward, history shows that the men for the task usu- 
ally have been found. 

Thus it was that in 1856 Dr. Oliver M. Wozencraft of San Bernar- 
dino came to the front and applied to Congress for a land grant for him- 
self and his associates if they would reclaim the lands. The application 
was received with favor, and the Committee on Public Lands reported 
in favor of the concession. 

But soon after this the Civil war broke out and threatened to disrupt 
the Union. There was no time to think of any new projects of this for- 


tuitous nature. The plan was abandoned, and Dr. Wozencraft died at 
his home with the pet scheme of his life in abeyance. Then for over 
thirty years this great project of such transcendent importance to the 
nation, and especially this California section, lay dormant. 

This was partly due to the reconstruction period of the national life 
perhaps, but also because of the fact that no successor to Dr. Wozen- 
craft had been found. But the project was too great to die, and it came 
to the front again in 1891 with some show of success. Mr. C. R. Rock- 
wood was given charge of all the engineering problems, and he worked 
successfully for a time. But now the financial and business end of the 
enterprise was wrecked in the panic of 1893, and that organization was 
abandoned. But Mr. Rockwood still had faith in the scheme and did not 
propose to give it up. Thus in 1896, allying himself with a new element, 
the California Development Company was duly incorporated with a 
capital stock of $1,250,000. Among these incorporators were the late 
A. H. Heber, an experienced colonizer, who was chosen president; C. 
R. Rockwood, chief engineer; Dr. W. T. Heffernan, and W. H. Blais- 
dell, both of Yuma. These men had an abiding faith in the enterprise 
and gave material assistance in the early work. Money was promptly 
raised and extensive surveys were made. And it should be stated here 
that Dr. Wozencraft originally planned to divert the water from the 
Colorado, using the channel of the Alamo River as a canal for that pur- 
pose. And this plan was now adopted by this company. One hundred 
thousand acres of land in Lower California, extending from the Colo- 
rado on the east to the mountains on the west, were purchased from 
Sr. G. Andrade, thus securing a right of way through this foreign terri- 

Then for three years this company was overtaken by new vicissi- 
tudes. The work of construction could not proceed for the lack of mon- 
ey. In 1899, however, S. W. Ferguson, of San Francisco, becoming in- 
terested in the company, was duly commissioned to finance the project 
among his friends on the Pacific Coast. As a result of an important in- 
terview with Mr. L. M. Holt in San Francisco, he came to Los Ange- 
les and was introduced to Mr. George Chaffey, one of the founders of 
Etiwanda and Ontario, who had recently returned from Australia, 
where he had been engaged in building the irrigation system of Mildura 
on the Murray River. A few days later these three gentlemen visited the 


desert and spent three weeks investigating the advisability of the 
scheme. Mr. Rockwood, who was then in New York City, was sent for 
and spent several weeks more with Mr. Chaffey in further investiga- 
tions. The latter, though much pleased with the enterprise, was not quite 
satisfied with the terms offered him, and he therefore declined to under- 
take the work. Mr. Rockwood was about to return to New York and 
give up the scheme. But Mr. Holt, being still sanguine of success, 
thought he could formulate a plan that would satisfy all parties inter- 
ested, and he was thereupon authorized to go ahead. After working 
some weeks on this proposition, which was finally submitted to Mr. 
Chaffey, he then consented to undertake the work on this basis. Dr. 
Heffernan, Mr. Blaisdell and Mr. Rockwood were consulted, and the 
result was that Mr. Chaffey was fully authorized to begin the work. He 
was given control of the California Development Company for five 
years, and a certain portion of the stock of that company if he suc- 
ceeded in constructing a successful irrigation system that would put 
water upon this desert land. 

About this time the Imperial Land Company, the colonizing agency, 
was incorporated, of which Mr. Ferguson was made manager, holding 
one-fifth of the stock of that company. After beginning the work, how- 
ever, he was not entirely satisfied with his share of the bargain and 
sought a power of attorney from Mr. Holt that he might vote his one- 
fifth share of the stock of the company and thus gain control of the 
corporation, which he regarded necessary in order to make his work 
effective. With this stock of Mr. Holt he expected to secure enough 
more to give him the control he desired. But Mr .Holt declined this re- 
quest, and then Mr. Ferguson sought to retaliate by forcing him out of 
the company. In order to avoid any conflict at this stage of the enter- 
prise, Mr. Holt finally exchanged his stock in the Imperial Land Com- 
pany for that of the California Development Company. A few months 
later Mr. Ferguson's management became so undesirable that he was 
asked to resign. On his refusal to do this he was removed soon after- 
ward, and all his interests in the company passed into other hands. 


Up to this time President Heber of the California Company had not 
seemed to take any active interest in its affairs. But now this new turn 


of affairs brought him to the front, and he took the position of manager 
to fill the vacancy. 

Thus in February, 1902, Mr. Heber'and his associates purchased the 
stock of Mr. Chaffey, who thereupon retired from the company. Mr. 
Heber then became president and general manager of the California 
Company, and also of the Imperial Land Company, of which he made 
E. C. Paulin general manager. 

Here is, therefore, a pretty full sketch of the men, capital, and vari- 
ous corporations that formed this combination for the reclamation and 
colonization of this desert land. And it is believed to be the most exten- 
sive project of the kind ever made in arid America up to this time. It 
involved so many problems which could only be solved by the expendi- 
ture of a vast sum of money under the direction of the most eminent 
and competent engineers in the country. And today it is claimed that 
there is no other place in America where these works can be duplicated, 
covering such a vast area to be reclaimed and so large a population to 
be served. The national government is now spending more money on 
smaller enterprises for the reclamation of much smaller areas, and for 
the benefit of a much smaller population. It is further claimed that no 
other place under the Stars and Stripes today has a single irrigation sys- 
tem that will irrigate so large an area and furnish homes for so many 
people. It is also believed that no other large area in the land can be re- 
claimed at such small cost per acre, or where the water can be perpetu- 
ally furnished to settlers at so small a cost per acre-foot, as is now being 
done by this Imperial Canal system in this wonderful Imperial Valley 
over the portion of this worthless Colorado Desert which has been res- 
cued by the hand of man from the vast sand-waste which the great Cre- 
ator seems to have forgotten to finish. 

It is now very apparent, however, that He has called in the assistance 
of men in the reclamation and development of this vast territory, and 
that they have succeeded beyond all precedent, and under a smiling 
providence, this great valley is blossoming with an unparalleled degree 
of fertility and productiveness. 

Back of all this, of course, is the subject of irrigation, an indispens- 
able prerequisite to the reclamation of arid lands. But for this, nearly 
half the area of this republic would be of small agricultural value today. 

In Imperial Valley the system of irrigation in use is the most com- 


plete possible under the existing law of California. For over 25 years 
the whole question received most careful study by enterprising men in 
Southern California. As a result the mutual company plan was finally 
adopted for the ownership and management of the Imperial Canal sys- 
tem as far as that plan could be utilized. The first obstacle that arose 
was the magnitude of the enterprise. Five hundred thousand acres of 
land for 100,000 people under one company did not seem entirely fea- 
sible. It was therefore decided to restrict the area to 100,000 acres for 
a single irrigation system. And even this has since been thought too 
large. With 100 voters to elect a board of directors of a water com- 
pany, there is a much greater feeling of individual personal responsi- 
bility than would be possible if 1000 voters shared in the control. And if 
this tract was sub-divided into 40-acre holdings, there would be 2500 
voters, which might not secure the best results. 

In this Imperial Valley there are 538,000 acres now under the Impe- 
rial Canal system, while still barren land will raise the total to nearly 
a million. It was therefore decided to divide the Valley into districts, no 
one to exceed 100,000 irrigable acres ; such districts, as far as possible, 
to have natural boundary lines. Then it was thought best to have a sep- 
arate company for each of these districts, all such companies to be or- 
ganized on a similar basis, in order that the landowner in one company 
should have the same rights and responsibilities as the owner in each 
of the other companies. All these companies should have the same name 
and be designated only by number. 

Under this plan, Imperial Water Company No. 1 was formed with 
100,000 shares of stock to furnish water for 100,000 acres of land in a 
territory bounded on the west by New River, on the east by the Alamo 
River, on the south by the Mexican boundary line, and on the north by 
an arbitrary line running between two rows of sections. While this tract 
exceeded the limit by some 50,000 acres, only 100,000 were regarded 
available for successful irrigation. And yet since then the actual irri- 
gable area is found to be much larger, and the disposition of this extra 
land has since been a problem with the company. Since then other com- 
panies of this kind have been formed and now reach 15 in number. 

The next obstacle to present itself was the impossibility of all these 
going to the Colorado River, 60 miles away, to get their water supply. 
But this was finally overcome by the construction of a canal through 


foreign territory, which, of course, added greatly to the cost, and made 
it almost prohibitory for a small company. But here the California De- 
velopment Company, which financed the plan for the construction of 
the canal system, and owned most of the canals through Lower Cali- 
fornia, agreed to such contracts as were necessary to deliver water to 
each of these several mutual companies. Under this agreement this par- 
ent company was to keep these main canals in repair and deliver the 
water in bulk, charging a uniform price of 50 cents an acre-foot. That 
is, 50 cents for enough water to cover an acre of land one foot in depth. 
This is practically two cents an inch for a 24 hours' flow. This parent 
company would thus construct a distributing system of canals for the 
mutual company and receive in payment the entire capital stock of such 
company. This stock would in turn be sold to settlers and the parent 
company would get its pay for the construction works and the mutual 
company would get its distributing system built and paid for in a way 
that would leave no indebtedness. The landowners would thus own and 
operate their own distributing system through each of these mutual 
companies. The water rates would be collected from the settlers in Jan- 
uary and July, paying the development company for all the water re- 
ceived during the preceding six months. Such contracts were made for 
the permanent delivery of water at a fixed price, and all settlers are 
served alike. In this way each settler pays 50 cents per acre for his 
water whether he uses it or not. It will be seen that this provision pre- 
cludes speculators from taking up land and buying water stock for the 
same and then wait for an advance in price to sell out at a handsome 
margin without improving the land at all. This wise provision has prov- 
en very popular. But for this requirement settlers might have found 
themselves surrounded with dry, desert lands with no neighbors. 

Such was the plan at the beginning of development of the Valley, 
and it ran on for a series of years, but, as stated in a separate article 
herein, the time came when the people threw aside the private corpora- 
tion owning the irrigation system and acquired it for themselves 
through the organization of the Imperial Irrigation District, under the 
laws of the state. 


It will be of interest to record here what has really been done under 


this great reclamation project in Imperial County thus far. Actual work 
upon the system was begun in April, 1900, and the first water was deliv- 
ered to the fields in June, 1901. In the following July there were about 
6000 acres of land put into crops in order to feed the hundreds of teams 
working on the canal system. In 1902 this acreage of tillage was in- 
creased to 25,000, and the next year this was doubled. In 1904 this cul- 
tivated area was increased to 150,000 acres. And now something over 
250,000 acres of government land has been filed upon and water rights 
secured for the same. In 1903 the California Development Company 
built about 600 miles of canals, some of which are 70 feet in depth at 
the bottom and carry water ten feet deep. 

The permanent population of the Valley is now about 50,000, and 
other settlers are coming in rapidly. Of course, as the wonderful possi- 
bilities for agricultural development became apparent railway con- 
struction was promptly begun, and the iron horse of commercial prog- 
ress soon appeared upon the scene. The Southern Pacific Company built 
a branch line of 28 miles from Old Beach to Imperial, soon after ex- 
tended to Calexico, another 16 miles, and thence on Mexican soil to 
Yuma, Arizona. On this branch are the thriving towns of Niland, Cali- 
patria, Brawley, Imperial, El Centro, Heber and Calexico. A 12-mile 
cross line was built from El Centro to Holtville, which is being extend- 
ed westwardly to San Diego, now reaching the towns of Seeley and 
Dixieland. Another cross line has recently been constructed westwardly 
from Calipatria to Westmoreland. 

This shows that the original projectors of this great reclamation en- 
terprise were not idle dreamers, "as many short-sighted people in that 
region even had openly declared. 

This great Colorado River has often been called the Nile of America 
because of the rich and fertile sediment carried down by its waters, and 
also because of similarity of climate and water supply. 

The agricultural development has run in well marked stages, begin- 
ning on the new land as each section was developed, with barley, alfalfa 
following, and then coming by degrees more intensive operations. Bar- 
ley ranks first among the grains, milo following, with comparatively 
small production of wheat. But in late years cotton has become the chief 
crop of the Valley in acreage and value. Fat cattle, sheep and hogs are 
shipped in great numbers, and the dairy industry has taken second place 


among California counties. Imperial County leads the world in acreage 
of cantaloupes, while grapes and asparagus are important early prod- 
ucts. But for the slow progress of propagation, dates would long before 
this have become a most important product. The annual productive- 
ness of Imperial Valley has reached a range of from twenty to forty 
million dollars a year. 

The products of this reclaimed land have already been increased in 
number. One of these new crops is the Egyptian long staple cotton, 
which gives very profitable crops of fibre and which is most valuable in 
the textile markets, bringing over 22 cents a pound previous to the re- 
cent advance in all varieties of cotton because of the war. 

Of course, the climate of this Imperial Valley is very warm in sum- 
mer, from April to October, often reaching 100 in the shade. And yet 
the air is so exceptionally dry as to permit work even during the hot- 
test days without great discomfort. The wet and dry bulb thermometers 
show a greater variation than in a humid country, being about five de- 
grees in the latter during the summer and about 31 degrees in this 


This having been the supreme creative factor in the reclamation of this 
great desert waste makes it imperative that some specific mention should 
be made here. But the reader will find this subject treated with scientific 
detail in subsequent chapters of this work by the most competent au- 
thority in the land. And this man once dreamed of writing a romantic 
history of this wonderful valley. And if space were at command in this 
volume a thrilling and racy thread of romance could be interwoven in 
this story-fabric of detail that begins with the discovery of this sandy- 
sink of the Colorado Desert, and follows down the years of its develop- 
ment and reclamation until the glowing results of today were reached. 

But for irrigation there could, of course, have been no Imperial Val- 
ley nor any Imperial County to write about. 

Without entering deeply into the ancient history of irrigation and 
the date of its origin, it may be said that modern scientists seem to agree 
that it was in use in very ancient times, and was used in this hemisphere 
at the dawn of civilization. Early explorers found extensive and suc- 
cessful systems in Mexico, Central America and Peru. Even in our 
own land are traces of early irrigation projects that had been carried 


out along the Colorado, Rio Grande and Gila Rivers. In India some of 
the most costly and magnificent engineering enterprises of this kind are 
found today. And most of the foreign countries are operating extensive 
systems of this kind. 

Modern reclamation in America in 1890 had nearly four million 
arid acres to its credit. But these systems were in no way comparable 
with those used in this Imperial Valley in extent. The reclaimed area in 
this valley at this time is far greater than was the total in the southern 
third of California in 1890. In India there are twenty-five million acres 
of such land, in Egypt about six millions, Italy about three millions, 
France 400,000, and in the United States about four millions of arid 
acres. Thus some forty millions of arid acres have been brought under 
successful cultivation by irrigation. Not, however, until 1902 was the 
construction of irrigation systems under the control of the Secretary of 
the Interior begun. This plan has been successfully carried out since 
then by the Reclamation service, the sole purpose being the transforma- 
tion of desert lands into attractive and productive farm property. 

The Colorado Desert was visited at least by military parties in 1846, 
and geological investigations were made in 1853. It was surveyed by 
government contractors in 1855 and 1856, and the overland stations 
were established there in 1858. It was resurveyed in 1880, and finally 
crossed by the railway soon after. The reclamation project was pro- 
posed in 1892, and again in 1902, which finally resulted in the adoption 
of the irrigation scheme. Since that time the enterprise has been duly 
exploited in the public press. 

This tract in 1846, being still a part of the Mexican territory, was 
frequently visited by Mexican desperadoes, and General Phil Kearny's 
famous expedition by the Santa Fe Trail to the coast crossed the Valley. 
With this expedition was a corps of government engineers who were 
to make observations and report as to the topography, natural history 
and geography of the region. The date of this report was November, 
1855. It stated that at the ford of the Colorado, where the engineers 
crossed, the river was 1500 feet wide and flowed at the rate of 1^2 
miles per hour, the greatest depth there being four feet. The banks 
were not over four feet high, and evidences of overflow were found. 
The water was torpid and hence immense drifts of sand were encoun- 
tered. A few days later a basin or lake was reached (probably Badger 


Lake, now dry) and this was then about Ya^A mile in extent and too 
salt for the use of man or beast. Their report of this desert contained 
this : "Ninety miles from water to water is an immense triangular plain 
bounded on one side by the Colorado River, on the west by the Cordil- 
leras of California, on the northeast by a chain of mountains running 
southeast and northwest." This report has a record of many hardships 
endured by the men under Lieutenant W. H. Morey, who was in charge. 
They had a sharp engagement with the Mexicans at Los Angeles, where 
he planted the American flag to stay, however. 

Another military expedition was sent out in 1853 under Lieutenant 
Williamson, with Professor William P. Blake as naturalist, who after- 
ward wrote a graphic description of the desert and the result of his 
geological studies there. He concluded that the physical aspects of the 
desert were due to flood erosion upon rocks near Palm Springs. He also 
predicted that potable water could be obtained from artesian wells in 
that region, which proved true 35 years later, and again by the engineers 
of the Southern Pacific railway. 

In 1858 the first overland mail route between St. Louis and San Fran- 
cisco was established, it being known as the Butterfield Stage Line. This 
trip took 22 days and was made every two weeks. There were three 
stage stations on the desert. That same year, however, America had a 
much more important event to record in that region. This was the dis- 
covery of the possibility of reclaiming this Colorado Desert. Dr. Oliver 
M. Wozencraft, a native of Ohio, who had been educated in Kentucky, 
was the first man who seriously proposed to bring the waters of the 
Colorado River into this sink for the purpose of agriculture by irriga- 
tion. Like many other men who have conceived great ideas ahead of 
their time, Dr. Wozencraft was laughed at as an airy dreamer at the 
time. But he had this project so thoroughly mapped out in his mind 
that had it not been for the breaking out of the Civil war in i860, the 
full consummation of his plans would probably have been carried out, 
or at least begun at that very time. And it is interesting to note here that 
his original ideas were very similar to those embodied in the final proj- 
ect which were carried out so many years later. But he joined the great 
gold rush in 1849, being the Indian agent at the time. He was also in- 
strumental in securing the railway line from the east to cross this des- 
ert. In his diary of that time he describes most graphically his first ex- 

t 8 2 



cursion to that region in May, 1849, which might well be quoted here 
in full if space permitted. It was on this trip when he first conceived the 
idea of reclaiming this great desert. He presented his scheme to the 
California Legislature, which promptly ceded him all state rights in the 
construction of his proposed reclamation plan of this desert waste. He 
next took the matter to Congress, where he received a favorable report 
from the committee in charge. But then the crash of arms at Fort 
Sumter prevented any further action at the time. At the close of the 
war he lost no time in the prosecution of his one absorbing purpose. 
But during the troubles attendant upon the reconstruction period after 
the war it was crowded aside from time to time in the maze of national 
affairs. Thus on the eve of the session in 1887, when another hearing 
had been promised him, he was suddenly stricken ill and died. In writ- 
ing of her father's pet project afterward, his daughter said he had lost 
a fortune and had finally given up his life in the effort to achieve suc- 
cess. And yet some think he was ahead of his time, the precise period 
for the consummation of his project, even if successfully carried out 
at that time, might not have proved for the best interests of the region. 
The railway was not built until 20 years later. And yet Dr. Wozencraft 
is still credited as being the "father of the Imperial Valley." 


Among the first travelers on the new railway line was Mr. H. S. Wor- 
thington of Kentucky. He, too, saw the great latent possibilities that 
presented themselves in this valley and he enlisted the interest of finan- 
cial friends in the matter, and tried to induce eastern capitalists to join 
in the project. But nothing came of it. Then in 1883 the New Liverpool 
Salt Company viewed the matter from a wholly different side. They 
filed on some of this salt land, leased a portion of the railway and went 
to work scraping the salt in vast layers from many square miles of these 
salt bottoms, using steam plows and then purifying the product. It was 
the economic and business end of the proposition as it then presented 
itself which appealed to this company. And their profits were large until 
the great Colorado River came down as of yore and protested to such 
a mercenary perversion of its natural advantages. This flood came in 
1905, 1906 and 1907, and the salt company's plant was wiped out com- 
pletely for all time. Then the great river had its way and left a great 



lake sleeping in the sun, which finally absorbed the water and left an- 
other great waste. 

But now the great transformation was close at hand. The Colorado 
was here flowing nearly fifty feet above the sea, while the floor of the 
valley, in some places, was 150 feet below the sea. It was thus easy for 
the engineer to see the possibilities for irrigation of this great sunken 
valley. The railway crossing this desert made a ready market for all 
products of the soil. And yet at that time little was known of the mar- 
velous fertility of this salt sediment. But the early settlers were im- 
pressed with the combination of favoring conditions. Careful observers 
and writers of that period began, even in January, 1901, to predict won- 
drous things for the Valley under proper irrigation. 

It was seen that the territory was distinctly an agricultural section, 
and must depend upon that feature alone for success after its reclama- 
tion. Government students found five kinds of soil in this basin : dune 
sand, sand, sandy loam, loam and clay. This material had blown into 
the desert from the beaches on the west and northwest, and would 
eventually, in combination with the other soils, form good arable land, 
they thought. The underlying subsoil had much organic matter, includ- 
ing nitrogen and potash. And yet it was said that less than one per cent 
of all the land in this basin would prove worthless for high cultivation. 
But the result was far better than any had hoped for. 

At Yuma this Colorado water was analyzed and found to carry silt 
having a fertilizing value of $1.65 to each three-acre foot. Climate, soil 
and air therefore here formed a combination of necessary factors for 
productive success in this Imperial Valley. The Secretary of Agricul- 
ture at Washington in 1910 said: "We must look to the west, especially 
the reclaimed west, to add sufficiently to our productive area, and to 
care for the increased demand which the next few years will show." 

Here was the Southern Pacific railway, with enormous capital and 
every facility, controlled by men keenly alive to the importance of the 
business of this Valley, who knew that the company's interests were 
closely connected with the development of the Valley. Of course, the 
early settlers were confronted with the high cost of transportation and 
living expenses generally. But this was materially offset by cheap poul- 
try, eggs, dairy products, honey and some vegetables. Water for domes- 
tic use in the midst of a desert with streams of alkali deposits was, of 


course, a serious problem at first. And yet it was found that during eight 
months of the year, after proper filtration, this water was potable and 
even healthful. 

Such, then, were some of the economic conditions that prevailed in 
this Imperial Valley in the summer of 1902 when the district had al- 
ready become a recognized factor in the scheme of reclamation. The 
towns of Calexico and Imperial were well organized and the population 
was increasing. And yet it must be said there was some anxiety regard- 
ing the narrow stream of water flowing from the Colorado to the dis- 
tributing canals of the mutual water companies. Anything that might 
interfere with the even flow of this water would, of course, endanger 
the whole enterprise. But the commercial progress of the region during 
1902 and 1903 continued rapid and was greatly accelerated by the con- 
struction of the branch railway from the Southern Pacific at Old Beach, 
though only grading had been begun on this contract at first. The com- 
pany soon took up the work in. earnest and the road was completed 
early in 1903. This gave the Valley a great boom. In April of that year 
the total acreage in crops was about 25,000, 6220 in wheat, 14,423 in 
barley and smaller areas in other grains and alfalfa. Then there were 
large areas devoted to fruit, melons and other vegetables. These crops 
would have been much larger in fact but for the inadequate supply of 
canals owing to financial difficulties. But in the following year this acre- 
age had been increased to 100,000 and the population to about 7000. In 
1904 the steam railway line had been extended to Calexico, which was 
already a thriving trade center. The towns of Brawley and Silsbee were 
next reached by the canal system, and water companies Nos. 4, 5 and 7 
began operations. The town of Imperial grew with marvelous rapidity, 
a fine hotel and various other business houses being built. About that 
time the Imperial Land Company became an important factor in the 
progress and development of this place. But at this stage some defect 
was discovered in construction at the Hanlon headgate. It was found 
too small, and the money needed to remedy the evil could not be had at 
that time. In addition to this, the Department of Agriculture at Wash- 
ington made an attack upon the soil and they also claimed, through the 
Reclamation Service officials, that Imperial Valley had really no right 
to use this Colorado water. But as usual, these matters were temporar- 
ily adjusted and overcome for the time, however. But there were vari- 


ous other obstacles of a kindred nature that were encountered after- 
ward, due, in part, to an excessive amount of silt that was being thrown 
into the canal by the Colorado River. There were then about 9000 peo- 
ple in that valley and their crops covered some 150,000 acres. They all 
wanted water and must have it. But even this was soon remedied, and 
the clouds that had hung over the years of 1905, 1906 and 1907 all van- 
ished. But it was the begninning of the end of the California Develop- 
ment Company. 


According to a report made in 1913, there were then about 250,000 re- 
claimed acres under cultivation in this Imperial Valley. The soil seemed 
well adapted to the growth of practically every crop that was grown in 
the United States, with very few exceptions, such as some of the decid- 
uous fruits, which required a period of frost and snow which are never 
known in this Valley. A leading crop pf late has been the alfalfa plant, 
which can be cut from six to nine times each year with an average of 
one ton to each cutting. It can also be used for forage part of the year 
and cut later for fodder. It remains green all through the year, although 
in December and January the cool nights retards the growth. And yet 
alfalfa is still considered one of the greatest wealth producers in the 
Valley. As a producer of beef, pork and mutton, it is without an equal. 
Farmers are reaping enormous profits from their alfalfa fields. In three 
years a plot of ground rented for some $500 attained a value of $16,000. 
Good alfalfa land is now worth about $175 per acre and rents for about 
$15 an acre per year. 

Among the newer crops, however, in this region is cotton, which is 
being very successfully grown, and yields a bale per acre. Already there 
are many cotton gins in operation, and at El Centro and Calexico there 
are cottonseed-oil mills, which, after extracting the oil, grind the seed 
into meal. The different varieties of corn do well here, and often two 
crops are secured in a season, except from the Indian corn. The first 
crop can be cut down and another crop grown without replanting. Bar- 
ley is also a sure crop and yields from 18 to 35 sacks per acre. Used as 
hay for fodder, it yields from two to four tons an acre. 

Livestock of all kinds is extensively raised throughout the entire Val- 
ley. And it is said that here the yearlings attain the size and growth of 


the two-year-old in any other part of the stock-growing sections of the 
country. This is attributed to the continuous feed of green fodder and 
the escape of the rigors of winter. Many large cattle companies are 
already established here. 

Another most attractive and profitable product in this Valley is the 
cantaloupe. A leading center of this growing industry is Brawley. Near- 
ly 3000 carloads of this delicious table dessert are annually shipped 
from this point, and the returns are from $100 to $300 per acre. This 
product is now being rapidly increased, a larger acreage being devoted 
to its culture. Oranges and lemons have not been a commercial success, 
but grapefruit is grown most successfully. The apricot is another very 
valuable fruit product here, yielding from $500 to $750 per acre in fav- 
orable seasons under proper culture. Large returns from the growth of 
asparagus are also reported. It is shipped in carload lots to New York 
and Chicago in February and March. One rancher cleared $10,000 from 
this vegetable alone in 1912, from 45 acres of land. After the shipping 
season closes it is canned for market. Dates are also a very profitable 
crop, often yielding 300 pounds per tree, worth from fifty cents to one 
dollar a pound. Table grapes are also doing well in the Valley, and 
there are several large vineyards. Muscats, Malagas, Thompson's Seed- 
less and a few Persian sorts are usually grown. They ripen late in June 
and are thus off the market when other sections begin to ship, thus se- 
curing the top price. 

Such is merely a brief summary of a few of the products of this mar- 
velous Valley where the land valuations have increased from nothing 
in 1900 to $14,000,000 in 1912, and $20,000,000 to $40,000,000 now. 
Since 1912, however, the construction of the new High Line Canal east 
of the Alamo River has added some 125,000 acres for cultivation. This 
extends from the Mexican boundary to the Southern Pacific main line 
tracks. Much of this was part of the government grant to this company. 

It is therefore apparent that the water supply in this vast area is in- 
exhaustible, and it is furnished to the farmers at very low cost. It fur- 
ther appears that the soil of this Valley is the richest and most fertile 
to be found in the American Union today. 

In the east it is very common to denounce the prevalent practice in 
financial circles of "watering stocks" — watering stocks of companies, 
corporations and securities of every name and nature. The practice has 


resulted in loss or ruin to millions of victims all over the land. All man- 
ner of legal restrictions have been resorted to by legislatures to prevent 
such frauds. But on the whole success has been very scant and indiffer- 
ent at best. 

But here in this great Imperial Valley of California water has really 
done the whole trick and proved the salvation of thousands. We call it 
"irrigation" here, as it might also be termed in the east. But in this Val- 
ley it has completely transformed a vast desert waste of only a few 
years ago into a glorious garden of fertility and production where thou- 
sands of people are now dwelling in comfort and prosperity. And the 
end is not yet in sight. 


This being among the latest productions of this wonderful Valley, ref- 
erence to it in this record has been deferred to this later chapter. It is, 
of course, very evident that no such civil division could have been creat- 
ed here until there was a place to put it, or even something to make it 
from. Then, too, there was no necessity for it, and the settlers were too 
busy with other things of more importance to their present existence, 
and did not feel the need of any such local government. It was even 
doubtful whether there were any political aspirants in the region as yet. 
This class of idle diplomats is rarely found among the pioneers of un- 
developed lands. They come in later after the way of progress has 
been duly blazed. 

All this territory had been included in San Diego County from a 
much earlier period. This great desert region had always been regarded 
as the most worthless part of that old county. Nobody ever expected 
that anything good could come out of this vast salt marsh and sandy 
waste. But in July, 1907, a petition having been received from some of 
the leading residents of that Valley for a division of the old county and 
creation of a new county in this Valley, a resolution was finally passed 
by the San Diego Board of Supervisors calling for an election to pass 
on this question. The proposed line of division was the section line be- 
tween ranges eight and nine of the San Bernardino Mountains. The 
territory embraced in this new county approximated 4000 square miles 
in extent and then had a population of 20,320. 

This election was accordingly held on August 6, 1907. Then, on Aug- 


ust 12, the vote having been almost unanimous for the erection of the 
new county, its birth was promptly, though not very loudly, announced. 
There is no special record of any public proclamation or celebration of 
the event. In fact, these settlers were not given to demonstrations of 
this character. Meanwhile, however, there had been an active contest 
for the location of the county seat, especially between the friends of Im- 
perial and El Centro. The result was that the latter, though much 
younger than Imperial, won the victory by a very small margin of 
votes. This led to a close contest which for a time came near being 
taken to the courts for decision. But better counsel prevailed in the 
end and a board of supervisors was duly elected for the new county. 
The first session of this local legislature was held in the Valley State 
Bank building when Mr. F. S. Webster, of the third district, was cho- 
sen chairman. And in this place it is significant to record that the very 
first measure which was adopted by these pioneer officials and settlers 
here assembled as local lawmakers, was an ordinance prohibiting the 
sale or distribution of malt or spirituous liquors anywhere in the coun- 
ty except under the most rigorous restrictions. The third ordinance, 
passed at a subsequent meeting, was a measure prohibiting gambling or 
betting. This will give some idea of the general character and personal 
motives of these early settlers from a moral standpoint at least. They 
were determined to begin right, and they did, for these laws were duly 

The first sheriff was Mr. Mobley Meadows, and he secured a tempor- 
ary courthouse in a part of an old furniture warehouse and real estate 
office. Two of these rooms were set apart for a jail in which to confine 
malefactors. It seems that the parent county of San Diego had refused 
to divide up a proper share of the public moneys to the new county. But 
these pioneers were not contentious, and after a time a satisfactory set- 
tlement of the whole matter was made in an amicable manner. 

Near the close of 1907 a fine new jail structure had been completed 
and the county offices were removed to the new building. Two years 
later a site for a permanent courthouse building was selected west of 
the Date Canal. But sometime before this the first newspaper in the 
town was established. The importance and value of a newspaper in the 
progress and development of any new country, and especially in this 
Valley county, cannot be overestimated, and this well-edited sheet was 


fully recognized by these intelligent and enterprising people, who have 
given it proper support. 

El Centro. — The town of El Centro, now the capital of the new 
county, had antedated the county itself by some two years in its organ- 
ization. The townsite belonged to Mr. W. F. Holt, and a flag station 
named Cabarker had been established there by the Southern Pacific 
Railway. Mr. Holt sold this site to a Redlands syndicate which exploited 
it under the name of El Centro, which has been retained ever since. 
There was a hotel which had been moved over from Imperial, two small 
residences owned by Dr. Anderson, also moved from Imperial, and a 
small real estate office on Main Street. Water was received from a lat- 
eral ditch leading from the canal west of the town. The construction of 
the present El Centro hotel was soon begun and also the Holt Opera 
House. And yet, it must be said, that this shire town of the county then 
contained only about a dozen permanent settlers. But the abounding 
faith in the rapid development of that region, which had animated these 
people from the beginning, actuated them still. And today El Centro has 
a population of 7500 and a total of building operations in a year of 
nearly one million dollars. In 1912 the various industrial structures 
there were valued at $241,900; commercial buildings, $83,300; educa- 
tional structures, $65,000; residences, churches and hospitals, $16,400; 
hotels, restaurants, etc., $15,700, a total of over half a million dollars. 
There were 81 new residences built that year at an average cost of 
$2000. And the total assessment of the land has increased $10,000,000. 
All this was accomplished in six years. 

The Town of Imperial. — This was staked out by the Imperial Land 
Company in the geographical center of the irrigable area in the fall of 
1900. Dr. W. T. Heffernan was the pioneer merchant, who built a store 
there and stocked it with general merchandise. A tent hotel was opened 
by Millard F. Hudson about the same time, and a house for religious 
worship for the Christian Church was built in 1901. And here again the 
printing press took its place in the front rank of public endeavor. It 
was the Imperial Press, edited by Mr. Henry C. Reid, whose daughter 
Ruth was the first baby born in the town. The pastor of this first church 
was the Rev. John C. Hay, whose initial congregation numbered just six 
persons. Mr. W. F. Holt and Le Roy Holt and his wife were of this 
number. But the town now began to grow rapidly in size and import- 


ance. The Imperial Land Company opened a new hotel in the summer of 
1904. Mr. Reid guided the destinies of the Imperial Press from May 
until October in 1901, when he was succeeded by Edgar F. Howe. Dur- 
ing Mr. Reid's control he published a graphic sketch of the new town 
as he first saw it in March, 1901. Material had arrived for the erection 
of the Press building, together with living apartments for the editor and 
his family. This structure was soon a reality through the efforts of a 
jolly bunch of friends under the command of W. F. Holt. The printing 
machinery was in place while the walls and roof were being built around 
it and even while the first edition of the paper was being put in type. 
When it is stated that the fixed population of the desert city that first 
summer was less than a dozen, it will be seen that the editor's neighbors 
were not very numerous. How he obtained his news, his subscriptions, 
or his money to pay his office staff does not appear. 

Calexico. — On the border line of the new county, and its sister town 
of Mexicali, is one of the most prominent towns in the Valley, being 
tributary to a vast extent of territory in Mexico that is very fertile, 
having large ranches producing wheat, barley, cotton and similar crops. 
It owns its water and sewer system, has well-lighted streets, miles of 
concrete sidewalks, avenues of fine shade trees, splendid schools and 
churches. The California Development Company has its offices here. 
The United States Custom House is here, and there is a large industrial 
district for handling cotton, gins, oil mills, compress, etc., warehouses 
and many fine blocks of buildings. 

Heber is four miles from this point northward and has become one 
of the largest shipping stations for stock, hay and grain in the Valley. 
It also ships many carloads of cantaloupes in the season and it has a 
good hotel. 

Brawley, nine miles north of Imperial, is the great cantaloupe cen- 
ter of the Valley, some 3000 carloads of this luscious fruit being shipped 
from here annually. And it is claimed that this place produces more 
vegetable products than all the other towns in the Valley combined. 
It is a very progressive town, owns its own water and sewer systems, 
has a fine public park, several social clubs and churches, cotton gins 
and a creamery. Among the leading vegetable products are dates, apri- 
cots, grapes, peppers, beans and peas. It has the largest cantaloupe pack- 
ing shed in the west. 


Holtville, also an incorporated city, is rated as the gem of the East 
Side section. It is the only one in the Valley having artesian water. 
Much public spirit has been shown here, and there are many public im- 
provements with others in prospect. The adjacent territory is mainly 
devoted to alfalfa, cotton, grain and stock raising, although an exten- 
sive acreage is now being planted with the cantaloupe melon. It is 
claimed that this is the only place in the United States where one can 
eat breakfast below sea level and sleep above it. The Holton Power 
Company here supplies the entire Valley with electricity, and the great 
plant is operated by water power. 

In addition to the towns briefly mentioned there are Calipatria, Silsby, 
Dixieland and many other smaller settlements all through the Valley 
which are ready to blossom into business activity. Vacant houses are 
unknown in any of these towns today. 

Such is the record of the men who came into this Valley knowing it 
was a forbidden desert without a redeeming feature. It must be appar- 
ent to anyone that it took a vast amount of courage and persistence to 
start the development of a ranch of any kind here in those old pioneer 
days. They had to brave the storms miles from any supplies, and away 
from all the comforts and advantages of civilization. Even ten years ago 
there was only a single telephone line to Flowing Wells, forty miles to 
the railway. Now there are all manner of modern facilities all through 
the Valley, and the newcomers may go and come at will. But it always 
takes men of this class, full of courage and determination, to blaze the 
way of civilization and progress in any new country like that. Those 
who are made of milder stuff are always ready to follow where they 
see that success has been already achieved, and in this they are quite 
willing to share liberally. 


This is a subject susceptible of a great variety of definitions. It covers 
many aspects and features not readily embraced in few words. Of these, 
temperature is only one, though most important perhaps in the average 
range throughout the year. We often read of this or that place being en- 
dowed by Nature with the "finest climate in the world." But she rarely 
distributes her favor so lavishly in one spot. And such an expression 
really means very little in the abstract anyway. It gives the average per- 



son only a partial notion of the general meteorological conditions that 
prevail. There are so many elements that enter into the final estimate of 
climate in any particular place that personal investigation extending 
over a considerable period of time seems almost imperative. Then, in 
addition to all this, there is also a wide diversity of opinion in regard to 
just what constitutes the best climate. Perhaps no two persons would 
precisely agree upon this fundamental point. And this is as it should be, 
or the various latitudes of the earth would not all be inhabited. People 
become adapted to the climatic conditions which prevail in the region 
where they live. 

The term "equable" is usually applied in speaking of the most desir- 
able climate enjoyed by human beings. Old geographic writers designat- 
ed it in this rather indefinite manner when they meant neither too hot 
nor too cold, too dry nor too wet, but just pleasant most of the time, 
without any extremes of temperature or any violent atmospheric dis- 
turbances. And this is perhaps an ideal condition of the air that most 
nearly agrees with the average human mind. And yet some people are 
not entirely satisfied with such uniform conditions. They find it monoto- 
nous and prefer changes, though very apt to rebel sharply when these 
changes become very sudden and drastic. 

Climate therefore depends primarily upon temperature, of course, but 
also upon the relative humidity of the atmosphere. And all these things 
depend upon the location of the place with reference to the equator, not 
only, but the altitude above the sea. The terms climate and weather, 
however, should not be used indiscriminately, as there is a distinction 
between them. Climate is a condition of a place with relation to certain 
meteorological phenomena, and the term weather has reference to these 
phenomena themselves. 

As to the climate of this Imperial Valley, nine months of the year 
are considered perfect, and without any rival. It is extremely rare that 
the region is visited by frost. There are no violent storms, and rains are 
seldom known. But the remaining three months of every year are me- 
thodically and admittedly hot. But it is at this very time that the green 
things growing are improving every shining hour, and making the farm- 
er's heart glad. And yet settlers soon become inured to this heat, and 
both men and teams work without much discomfort. It is cool in the 
shade and the nights are always cool, affording restful sleep, while the 



sleeper dreams of his rapidly ripening fruit and their early arrival in the 
markets to catch the top prices ahead of other competitors in less fav- 
orable regions. 


There is so much of interest in the Valley Year Book of 1902 as indi- 
cated by Jose Huddleston in her contribution to the history of the fol- 
lowing year that the writer takes the liberty of quoting copious excerpts 
therefrom in this chapter. It shows the contrasting conditions between 
then and now in this great Valley in a vivid manner. 

She arrived at Flowing Wells in October, 1901, and she called that 
the "jumping off place,'' or the end of civilization. Nothing was visible 
then but glistening sand, a little sagebrush and mesquite. Her little party 
spent the night under a tent in the desert and without sleep. Next morn- 
ing at six she took the stage for Imperial, 33 miles away. They finally 
reached there at four in the afternoon and again stopped under a tent, 
kept this time by a Chinaman in payment of the rent, wood and water 
being furnished him by the owners. The land company had a very small 
office in the town, and Le Roy Holt, now a banker, kept a small grocery 
store. The Imperial Valley Press was issued from this building every 
week over a miniature printing office where the printer's family lived. 
There was also a Christian Church building through the influence of 
W. F. Holt, and a school building, and these few small structures com- 
prised the town of Imperial at that time. A little patch of sorghum was 
the only green spot in sight. This had been planted as an experiment by 
Mr. Patton and was the only touch of color in that great sand waste. 
Mr. Huddleston opened the first barber shop in October, 1901. Then for 
the first time, it seems, the men of that Valley began to cut their hair 
and clip their beards. Soon after this two more tents were struck, and 
in one of these Mr. Huddleston baked bread with a gasoline stove, three 
loaves at a time, and 21 loaves a day. As room in this oven could be 
found he slipped in a pie. Of course, all were delighted with this home- 
made innovation. Then the writer relates in the following December the 
Valley was treated to a violent storm of snow, rain and sleet. 

When the first cow was brought in, tied behind a wagon, a great sen- 
sation was created. Mrs. Huddleston was keeping a restaurant, and the 
owner of the cow stopped there and told her she could have some 

M | 


fresh milk if she would milk the cow. It was the first milk she had seen 
in seven months. The main canal was then under construction and she 
received water through a small branch ditch when it was not choked 
with sand. In August, 1902, the ice factory began operations there. But 
in the May previous she had gone to Calexico, which was separated 
from Mexico by a small ditch ten feet wide. A hotel, blacksmith shop, 
custom house office and half a dozen tents comprised this first town in 
the Valley at that time. Then this picturesque writer describes the beau- 
ties of the mirages seen in that region in this way, and says that those 
who have never lived where these wonderful aerial phenomena occur 
can have no conception of such beauties. "On looking south we have 
often beheld the mountains turned upside down, one above the other. 
At other times a full-rigged battleship was seen so plainly that even the 
port holes were visible. Again we have seen the ocean and watched the 
breakers sweeping over the sands, and could see the spray from the 
rolling waves. Toward the east there was an immense castle with beauti- 
ful turrets with iron bars at the windows. A little farther north there 
appeared to be a hole through the mountain which seemed about four 
feet in diameter, showing beautiful green on the other side. Another 
time, toward the east, an immense bird seemed to be feeding, a crane 
perhaps, with a bill about a foot and a half long." 

"And so, where the winds have met, and the seas were swept aside, 
We have builded our homes, we have tilled the soil, and we view it 
all with pride." 


It must be assumed that long before Columbus turned his Spanish prow 
toward this western hemisphere it was inhabited by a swarthy race of 
human beings whom we have been pleased to call Indians. Whence they 
came or how they originated are questions which have never yet been 
satisfactorily answered, nor ever will be. Ethnologists and other scien- 
tific investigators are still wrestling with these fundamental questions. 
And they arrive at different conclusions, just as they do as to the pre- 
cise origin of the Negro race. But when this new western continent was 
discovered the Indian was found in possession of the lands under widely 
varying conditions and aspects, depending upon their location and mode 
of life. These people we have been content to designate as the native 


American race or aborigines. The Jesuit missionaries in this California 
peninsula divided them into three classes or tribes, the Pericues, Mon- 
quis and Cachimies. These tribes were subdivided into various branches, 
and again into families and rancherias. They were all tall, erect, robust 
and well formed, as a result of their nomadic life in the open air, to- 
gether with their wildwood habits. Though not disagreeable in features, 
they seemed to delight in disfiguring themselves in various ways. Their 
complexions were somewhat darker than those found in Mexico, and 
became almost black as they grew older. Their hair was black and 
straight, but they had no beards. Their teeth were large, regular, and 
very white. This native population has been estimated as high as fifty 
thousand. But it is thought it did not really exceed half that number. A 
census of fifteen missions taken in 1767 found only about 12,000. In fact 
it is said that one might travel for days and not see a single Indian. No 
records have been found to show that they were in any way connected 
with any other tribe or people. As already remarked, no effort seems to 
have been made to trace their origin. That they were inhabiting such a 
desolate country of their own volition is hardly possible, and it has 
therefore been surmised that they were driven out of some more fav- 
ored region by more powerful tribes, and then sought refuge among the 
vast wastes of this peninsula. They seemed devoid of all knowledge or 
even native intuition. They thought California was the entire world, 
visited no other people and had no visitors, cared mainly for filling 
their stomachs and toasting their shins in idleness. Even the native 
hunting instinct, so common with other Indians, seemed to be dormant 
in their minds if they had any minds at all. They wandered from place 
to place aimlessly, sleeping on the bare ground, rarely spending over 
one night in any one place. They rambled about in search of water, fruit 
and food of some kind. Only when ill did any of them get any shelter- 
ing hut. After their lessons at the mission they would squat on the 
floor. The men were entirely naked, and the women often wore belts 
around their waists if they wore anything. When given clothing they 
would discard it as soon as they got outside. They made sandals of 
deer skin, and sometimes wore strings of shells and berries in their hair 
and around their necks. They were armed with bows and arrows and 
had a few rude stone implements for digging roots. Baskets and cradles 
were made of tortoise shells. The men carried burdens upon their 


heads, the women upon their backs. They knew nothing about cooking 
and each cooked for himself. They ate anything and everything — roots, 
fruits, buds, seeds, and flesh of all kinds of animals, deer, wild-cats, 
mice, rats, bats, lizards, locusts, caterpillars and even snakes, old bones 
and carrion, so disgusting and filthy were their habits. And yet we are 
told they were healthy and rarely got sick, but remained strong and vig- 
orous. They could endure hunger longer than the white man, but they 
were also gluttons and could gorge fuller. Seventeen watermelons and 
six pounds of unrefined sugar at a sitting was reported. But they made 
no intoxicating liquors, though on festive occasions they became drunk 
smoking wild tobacco. They practiced a crude form of polygamy, and 
their social customs were full of interest to the white man, though dis- 
gusting in the extreme. They had no form of religion or government of 
any kind until the missions were established. They had neither gods nor 
idols, nor any conception or dread of any hell before the missions were 
founded. When asked who made the sun, moon, stars, etc., they would 
answer "aipekeriri," who knows that? There seemed to be no language 
of their own and very few words for anything they could not see, hear, 
touch, taste or smell, nor any words to express abstract ideas. In fact 
their native vocabulary was of the most meager description. Their 
language and culture went together. 

In short here was a nomadic race which seemed to be regarded as the 
lowest scale of humanity. And if the chief end of life is to eat, drink, 
sleep and pass a painless existence, the Jesuit father was right in saying 
they were happy. They perhaps slept more soundly on the ground, un- 
der the open sky, than many European potentates under their gorgeous 
canopies on their downy beds. There were no troubles of any kind, nor 
any envy, jealousy, slander, or evils common to civilization. "Where 
ignorance is bliss it's folly to be wise" is the much abused adage that 
seems to apply here. 

Perhaps the general characteristics of this native race in Lower Cal- 
ifornia have been referred to in this general article more in detail than 
was absolutely necessary, although the briefest possible summary only 
has been presented from the earliest writers on the subject. 

Here in this Imperial Valley the tribal name of these nomadic deni- 
zens of the forest was Cucupah, closely related to the Yumas, though 
more industrious than the latter. They apparently lived then, as now, 


in the mountains of Mexico and only came to the desert valley at time 
of tribal wars. Here they left many large water and food jars, in prep- 
aration for a siege. All of them lived in this happy-go-lucky way among 
their savage instincts. 

Then, after succeeding generations, when Columbus had brought the 
white men over, it was rumored that this whole country was to be domi- 
nated by the white race, that would eventually crowd the Indians into 
the sea. Thus when the boats of these whites were reported in the Col- 
orado River, upon which the Indians had depended for food and drink, 
a general massacre was planned by this whole tribe. This was about the 
year 1800, when Lieutenant Hardy of the British Navy led two expe- 
ditions well into this great western part of the continent in search of 
some river up which he could sail. He ascended the Gulf of California, 
making his way past many islands, shallows and sandbars with great 
difficulty and danger, and finally reached the mouth of the sluggish 
Colorado River. He pushed on to a small lake in which he anchored, 
and then went further for investigation. But as far as he could see there 
was nothing but a vast desert of sand, bare and desolate. Further 
progress being impossible here, he turned back and reported to his su- 
perior officers that the Colorado River was not navigable. 

It should be added here that there has been some question whether or 
not this English officer was ever really in this river at all, although he 
called it the Colorado in his report and maps at the time. For a hun- 
dred years geographers thought he was mistaken, and yet he may have 
been right, as the main course of this erratic stream has changed many 
times since then. But upon this question however depends the fact 
whether or not he was the first Englishman to look upon this vast Col- 
orado desert. And the point is not a vital one after all ; in any event the 
great river was well worthy of his best efforts. 


This is one of the longest rivers of the world when its tributaries are 
included. It begins at the junction of the Grand and Green rivers in the 
southeastern part of Utah, the whole river being really a continuation 
of the Colorado in its upper part. Its mileage is about 2000, and the 
drainage is about 800 miles long, varying in width from 300 to 500 
miles, with a total of something like 300,000 square miles. It flows 


through Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, California, Nevada, New 
Mexico, and Mexico. The lower basin of the river is only slightly below 
sea level, with some mountain ranges rising 2000 and 6000 feet in the 
air. The upper part of this basin is from 4000 to 8000 feet above sea 
level, and it is bordered on the east, west and north by snow-clad moun- 
tains. Through this plateau there are deep gorges, transverse valleys 
and caafions which are dry most of the year. Among these and other 
tributaries in this district flow the waters that go to make up this slug- 
gish and erratic river, which for untold centuries has carried down the 
silt and atoms of earth that were destined to transform this great Val- 
ley and make it blossom like the rose. 

Sluggish streams with shallow settling basins, are required to pro- 
duce this cargo of maturing debris. And here the story of the forma- 
tion of the Colorado, now reclaimed, and the great Imperial Valley, its 
daughter, begins. 

In 1853 government experts made exhaustive investigations of this 
region. After describing the bordering mountains, their report turns 
to the desert section, and says that it belongs to the type which physio- 
graphers describe as constructional, an area which has been depressed 
as a result of a crustal movement, as contrasted with valleys due to ero- 
sion. Its rock-floor or bottom is below tide even in those parts north of 
the Gulf where the actual surface is well below the sea. This indicates 
a subsidence of the earth's crust. A marked fault-line in the mountains 
show that the Valley simply dropped away at some time or other, 
either slowly or suddenly. There are therefore topographic character- 
istics of a faulted-block tilted toward the northeast and plunging into 
the desert toward the southeast. As the entire basin is occupied by lake 
silts and alluvium of most recent origin, it is evident that these fault- 
movements were of a very late period. Everything strongly points 
therefore to the fact that this desert valley is associated with structures 
in which faults are prominent. When this valley-floor subsided there 
must have been a great inrush of the Gulf waters. Scientists agree that 
at a comparatively recent geological period this section was covered by 
the waters of the Pacific. It was here that the Colorado found its way in 
past ages and tumbled its load of silt year after year, forming at last 
a delta near its mouth which spread in time and buried the original floor 
of the Gulf under hundreds of feet of mud and alluvium, and finally 


cut the Gulf in two by building up the delta dam which separates this 
Gulf depression from that known as the Salton Sink. 

The conclusions arrived at therefore by these government geologists 
are that this Colorado desert was not a desert at all at first, and only 
became so when the floor of the basin settled probably iooo feet, be- 
came inundated by the gulf, received the salt-laden waters of the Colo- 
rado and Gila rivers, with their numerous tributaries, thus forming a 
delta and lake was into which the water poured for centuries until the 
surface of the lake was about forty feet above the sea and extended 
over an area of more than 2100 square miles, and finally receded grad- 
ually year after year, shrinking away entirely, leaving a great solid bed 
of soil, rich alluvium and detritus from 250 to 1000 feet deep. 


It is strange to record here that apparently from the very inception of 
this great reclamation enterprise the attitude of the national govern- 
ment seemed antagonistic. At times the work was much retarded from 
this cause, the operators becoming discouraged, and in some cases fell 
into discredit in the community. This opposition came, not only from 
the reclamation service department, but also from other branches of 
the government from which every assistance had been expected. This 
was mainly attributed to the dilatory tactics of the officials in sending 
inexperienced men to undertake work of such large importance. For 
instance, the soil survey made by the Agricultural Department in 1901 
and 1902 resulted in such an unfavorable report that for a time opera- 
tions were entirely stopped, and the faith in the enterprise became much 
impaired. The substance of this report was that the alkalies would 
rise to the surface and destroy all plant life. But the wisdom of that 
cruel prediction has been amply refuted from that time to this by the 
marvelous crops produced in the very parts of the Valley where the 
trouble was expected. And yet at the time the blow was a sad one for 
the projectors. There was also trouble from the Government Land De- 
partment. And this made it necessary that a resurvey of the lands in 
the Valley should be made. This was authorized by Congress in 1902, 
and it took seven years to complete it. But even this snarl of red tape 
was finally untangled. 


But meanwhile the projectors were confronted with an empty treas- 
ury once more. Then resource was had to the Southern Pacific Railway 
Company, which was of course deeply interested in the development of 
the Valley. At the instigation of Mr. E. H. Harriman, after careful 
investigation, a loan of $200,000 was secured on certain conditions. 
But then came a break in the Colorado River in June, 1905, which had 
been preceded by some water-sewage the past two years, due to some 
defects in the construction system. But again all these troubles, and 
many others which followed from periodical floods unprecedented, 
were successfully met and surmounted, as all others had been. 

On the far eastern side of Imperial County are 17,000 acres of the 
finest land in the world which are now watered by the diversion of the 
Colorado River under the Laguna Dam system. This great dam is 
nearly a mile long by 240 feet wide, and it raises the water in the river 
about ten feet. It stands as a monument to the engineering skill of the 
government. It will eventually reclaim about 130,000 acres of land. 
And to this will be added some 100,000 acres from the Imperial Mesa 

This new county, therefore, seems like an empire in itself, being 84 
miles long from east to west and 54 miles from north to south, covering 
about 2,600,000 acres. About one-sixth of this, now known as Imperial 
Valley, lies in the middle of the county, extending toward the Mexican 
line toward the north some 40 miles. The Saltan Sea is in the western 
part of the county, the probable remains of the California Gulf. 


And this leads to some special mention of the women in this Valley. 
Too much honor cannot be awarded them for their most effective 
services here. A volume might well be devoted to these women for their 
share in the work of development in this new country. They endured 
many of the hardships described in this work of achievement and strug- 
gle. They followed their husbands and sweethearts into this barren 
country even before the success of the reclamation operations was 
assured. They lent not only encouragement but actual and most effective 
assistance to the men from the very first. And it has been well said that 
but for these devoted women the reclamation of this Colorado Desert 
might have been possible, but it would not have been a fact. 



Among these early pioneers was Mrs. Le Roy Holt. Mr. Holt, who 
later became president of several banks in the Valley, came to Imperial 
early in 1901. In June of that year Mrs. Holt followed her husband. 
She arrived at Flowing Wells Station on the Southern Pacific, expecting 
to settle in the Valley. Being the only woman in the stage-coach, she was 
accorded a seat beside the driver, some ten feet in the air. Reaching the 
Salton Sea, they found barrels of water left by the freighters, there 
being not a drop on the entire road between the station and Imperial. 
A lone mesquite tree, called the "15-mile tree," was there used as a 
mail-peg upon which to hang the mail sack for the Bothwell Camp on 
the east side. And yet there is no record showing that this mail was ever 
robbed. It was an all-day trip, the horses were well-nigh exhausted, and 
the destination was not reached until five o'clock. The only men in 
sight on their arrival were Mr. Holt and Mr. Reid, the editor of the 
Imperial Press, which was the first newspaper issued in the Valley. Of 
course the newspaper man is always among the pioneers in every bold 
undertaking or project of this nature. He never gets left. And this was 
the inspiration which animated his local paper. Water was king and 
here was its kingdom. Three months later Mrs. Holt paid her second 
visit to Imperial. This time she came to stay and has been there ever 
since. The only hotel was of canvas, and there was a little church, a 
printing-office building, one store-room, and a little 10x12 office for 
the Imperial Land Company. A Chinaman at the hotel was the manager, 
and there was no landlord. The only other woman in sight had just 
arrived by the stage. She took up some land and moved out at once. 
Thus the only women in Imperial and for miles around were the wife 
of the editor, Mrs. Frost and Mrs. Holt. There was then no wire com- 
munication with the outside world, and the mail was often many hours 
behind time. The people occasionally became hungry and found diffi- 
culty in keeping warm, as the stovepipe would blow away, when a 
neighbor would give chase on the Holt pony, fearing it might land in 
the canal and be lost forever. Mrs. Holt recalls one Sunday when they 
got no meal at all all day, the dust being so thick they could not eat in 
the tent-house. The children were kept in bed in case the tent was 
blown over. 

On being asked why they stayed in a place like that she answered 
with much enthusiasm, "Because we loved the days that were not windy 


and dusty, and we loved also the bigness of our surroundings. We never 
felt lonely nor homesick here; even the stars seemed nearer to us." 

The Rev. John C. Hay was the pastor of the little Imperial church, 
which had only six persons in its congregation at this first service and 
three scholars in the Sunday school. In the evening the hotel Chinaman 
took part and sang "Onwald, Chlistian Sojers" with great effect. Ruth 
Reid, the editor's baby, was the first child born there, and Jesse and 
Tom Holt were the first children who lived in Imperial. Many other 
eloquent hardships endured by this noble pioneer woman might be 
cited if space permitted. 

Editor Reid, who guided the destinies of the Press from May until 
October, 1901, gave a graphic picture of the Imperial city in the pre- 
ceding March before the little printing shop was built, during the prog- 
ress of which the paper was being put in type and made ready for the 
press. A roster of the place at that time showed a population of one 

In those days the people depended entirely upon the "freighter," 
with his long string of mules, for everything which had to be brought in 
from the outside. And this freighter was a picturesque character, afford- 
ing much amusement to the residents. But of course the method of 
transportation was excessively slow, costly and unsatisfactory. And yet 
the people were glad to get even this service. They were not then in any 
position to contrast it with better things. And the fact is, after all, that 
we enjoy almost everything in this world by contrast. 

The irrigation water only began to enter the Valley in the summer 
of 1 90 1, and then by a very small stream. And yet the editor of the 
Press, which had just begun its career, became so enthusiastic over the 
event that he used all the big type in stock, and then concluded with 
this paragraph : "Imagine how pleasant to the eye the green fields, sur- 
rounded by a barren waste, will'be to the eye." But everybody was ready 
to overlook his faulty construction in view of his unbounded enthusi- 
asm. Several crops of sorghum, maze, wheat and barley were raised 
that very summer, however, in the region of Cameron and Blue Lake. 
Experiments were also made with cantaloupes and Egyptian cotton, 
with such surprising results that the government began to doubt the 
reports of their own officials. It was apparent that the only requisite 
was water. 



The Imperial Postoffice was opened in May, and the first public 
school, under Prof. Carr, from Nevada City, was started. The next day 
after this school opened there were fifty pupils enrolled. Some of these 
walked five miles every day to reach it. 

The following spring the Southern California Editorial Association 
took a trip through this district under the auspices of the Imperial Land 
Company. This gave a new impetus to the whole section which never 
died out. Landholders were then assured that the irrigation system 
under construction would be completed early in 1902. Thus extensive 
preparations of the soil were made for tillage. 

But now came the adverse report from the government soil expert, 
which, though technical and almost unintelligible to the average 
reader, claimed in effect that because of the large percentage of alkali 
much of the land would prove worthless for most crops, except on some 
of the bottom lands below Yuma, where the conditions were different. 

This, as before remarked in an earlier chapter, was a great setback 
for the region. Even some of the newspapers made "stories" about the 
hopeless doom of the much-lauded irrigation project in the Valley. But 
a few of the more intelligent and conservative editors took a more 
thoughtful view. One of these called the report an "alka-lie" document. 
One sententious farmer, when asked about the "white spots" upon his 
productive acres, said : "Yes, it looks like alkali and tastes like alkali, 
in fact it is alkali. But on land that has raised a large family, lifted a big 
mortgage and paid the taxes, it is only frosting on the cake of plenty." 
He denounced the alkali expert, and said he would be in better employ 
prying pumpkins off these "alkali" plots. 

Thus the faith of these settlers never flagged; they kept on planting 
and raising marvelous crops from their irrigated acres where they had 
them. Commercial prosperity had come to stay, only awaiting more 
water. And it was this personal confidence in ultimate success that 
animated every landholder in the Valley, and this enthusiasm spilled 
over to the surrounding country. The construction of additional canals 
went bravely on, and the people began to pour into the Valley as never 
before. It was, therefore, apparent that in the summer of 1902 this 
Imperial Valley was no longer a desert. Water was in the ditches, seeds 
were in the ground, and the entire region was dotted over with homes 
of industrious and happy people. The old desert was now crossed by an 




important railway line which skirted the Valley on the northeast with 
its rails. 

But up to this time little was really known as to the great fertility of 
this unfailing land-enriching silt. The Orange Judd Farmer, however, 
predicted even then that this land in ten years would sell for $600 an 
acre. The Valley being strictly agricultural territory, in addition to 
favorable climatic conditions, must have the other requisites of soil 
fertility and irrigation. The government ''soil report" gave five kinds of 
soil — dune-sand, sand, sandy-loam and clay. This sand, they said, had 
blown into the desert from the old beaches on the west and northwest, 
and was caught upon obstructions of various kinds, and held there, 
gradually accumulating into sand drifts, dunes and hummocks, and 
this, mixed with the former soil, made a good arable combination. The 
sandy loam was formed by the coarser sediment of the Colorado River 
deposits. Underlying this sediment is a clay strata or subsoil which 
carries considerable organic matter with an abundance of nitrogen and 
potash. This clay subsoil is found all through the Valley. And this, too, 
is a product of the Colorado River deposits, though of a finer grade, 
being heavy, sticky and plastic like that of the Mississippi River delta. 
As a matter of fact less than one per cent of all the land in this basin 
has really proven worthless for high cultivation. On the contrary, its 
fertility exceeds what the most sanguine had hoped for, and it continues 
to improve in productive capacity year after year, bringing crops of 
great luxuriance. There is excellent drainage because of the uniform 
slope of the land. The fountain heads of the Colorado being in the 
Rocky Mountains, causes a stronger flow in summer from the melting 
snow, and the Gila and Salt rivers are at flood during January and 
February, when the Colorado is low. 

The next important factor in the productive value of this or any 
other land is a good market. This has been found mainly at Los Angeles, 
200 miles away, with its population of 600,000. Here for the past fifteen 
years the demand has exceeded the supply. In addition to this the com- 
pletion of the Panama Canal opens up another branch of the market. 
In the transportation of these Valley products the important railway 
line, with its vast capital and large facilities, having every interest in 
the rapid development of the region, is of course an all-important factor 
in itself. The cost of living, which for the first few years was large, has 


now been greatly lessened, the heavy freight rates having been offset 
by the cheap dairy products, eggs, poultry, and increased vegetable 

The completion of the Southern Pacific branch from Imperial to 
Calexico in 1904 proved of great advantage. During part of this time, 
however, progress continued to be impeded by an insufficient supply of 
water, although as an association of settlers the supply was freely given, 
except the annual assessment on water-stock. But of course this did not 
help out the inadequate supply furnished, which seems to have been 
due, as usual, to the lack of money on the part of the irrigating con- 
tractors to cure certain defects in construction of the Hanlon head- 
gate, but primarily perhaps to the adverse report of the government 
department of agriculture as to the quality of the soil. The reclamation 
service of the government had also raised the question whether there 
was any right to use this Colorado water. All these things had an ad- 
verse influence upon capitalists at the time, who again began to lose 
confidence in the project. But large destinies that are decreed for suc- 
cess are rarely turned aside by small obstacles. 

New discoveries were made at the Chaffey gate, and some other im- 
provements effected which remedied the trouble for a time. An opening 
was finally made in the mud-banks of the river four miles below the 
Hanlon gate into Mexican territory, and this, connected the river 
directly with the Alamo tunnel. This was done in October, 1904, and 
the clouds of trouble which had threatened so long dispersed at once. 
This Colorado River flowed along the rim of the Valley, and from 25 
to 200 feet above it. And when the irrigation cut was made it was 
through 1600 feet of mud-flats such as the river had been forming for 
centuries. Thus to carry this depression below sea level was in defiance 
of natural conditions, and there was some question whether the stream 
would take kindly to the change, or perhaps make a new channel 
for itself. 

The opposition to the diversion of this river water for irrigation pur- 
poses was bitterly fought by Mr. A. H. Heber through influential 
friends in Congress at that time. He sought to convince that body of 
legislators that the Colorado was more useful for irrigation than for 
navigation purposes. But Congress would not agree to that proposition 
then. Then he went promptly to President Diaz of Mexico and entered 


into a contract with him in June, 1904, for the development of an irri- 
gation project on the basis of the use of one-half of the water of the 
canal, if so much was needed, being used on Mexican soil. Engineer 
Rockwood was placed in charge of this new project. But in February. 
1905, before this could be completed, the Colorado got on the rampage 
with successive floods, the mud-dam at intake No. 3 was swept away, 
and the dike was carried in the channel down into the Valley. Then 
various devices were planned and resorted to, but the old stream refused 
to be conciliated during that whole summer, and there were no avail- 
able funds in the treasury of the development company. Meanwhile the 
great river, roaring with wrath, cut deeper and deeper into the soft 
mud-wall between it and the men who were making frantic efforts to 
curb it. Piles were sucked out, the island became flooded, and the water 
lapped the base of the government levees on the Arizona banks while 
the engineers looked calmly on. Finally, on August 9 of that year, the 
stream turned its bed and began pouring into the Valley toward the old 
lake, from which it had been shut off for ages. 

About this time, however, the Southern Pacific Company secured 
control of the California Development Company, and took charge, 
placing the matter under the direction of Engineer Rockwood, who then 
introduced his gate plan, which, however, was subsequently greatly 
changed. But then another great flood in this erratic and defiant river 
came down in November of that year. And now the settlers began to 
despair of the human agencies employed to control these vast forces of 
Nature, as well they might. Rockwood's gate-plan was again resorted to 
and finally completed in April, 1906, at a cost of $130,000. The mad 
river had risen from 6000 to 102,000 second feet in three days, and the 
impotency of man was again apparent. But something had to be done. 

Then the big railway corporation got busy and ordered this break 
closed at once at whatever cost. Various gates were built and performed 
wonders. It is, however, manifestly impossible to follow in detail all 
these successive floods and the methods used to control them from this 
time forward. But, strange to say, in spite of all these troubles there 
was still much industrial prosperity in this Valley. And yet there was 
much misgiving and some, becoming desperate, sold out and moved 
away. But a large majority of these indomitable settlers stuck to the 
enterprise through everything, feeling sure that the great river would 


be fully controlled ultimately. Meanwhile, however, exaggerated and 
absurd reports were being published in outside papers and magazines. 
Even the Los Angeles Examiner contained a report that an under- 
ground fissure had opened, allowing the waters of the ocean to pour in 
by a subterranean passage into the Salton Sea, and that the Valley 
might be engulfed. But these met strong refutation very soon, and the 
various Valley industries went steadily on as usual, with many new 
homes building. 

The Southern Pacific was now in control and the slogan was, "Stop 
that water." And it was stopped. 

Just previous to this the great San Francisco earthquake and fire had 
occurred. President E. H. Harriman, of the railway corporation, had 
authorized a large appropriation for the entire work of closing this 
break, although he had just arrived by special train while the ruins of 
San Francisco were still smoking. He placed Mr. H. T. Cory in charge 
of the work, and he proved the right man in the place at that time. 
Without following in detail all the methods used, it is sufficient to say 
that on November 4 all the waters of the yellow dragon were again 
confined to their old-time channel on their way to the Gulf of California, 
and the work had taken only one day over three weeks. 


But now, in spite of the hurry to complete the dam across the break, 
another distressing flood broke on December 7, and in 36 hours the 
entire river was again pouring into the Salton Sea. Two weeks later, at 
the request of President Roosevelt, Mr. Harriman gave orders to again 
make the closure, and this was completed in February, 1907. Now once 
more the old river went peacefully on its way to the ocean. 

Meanwhile the career of the California Development Company had 
failed to keep its promises in extending the water-system territory, not 
supplying the people's needs, and had been extravagant in its use of 
money. Its patrons had become dissatisfied, and there was some merit 
in their complaints. This finally culminated in an appeal to the govern- 
ment reclamation service to buy out the company. A proposition was 
made to organize a "water users' association," with a fund of $12,000,- 
000, agreeing with the government to purchase the property of the 
development company, place the whole matter under the management 



of the reclamation service, and then carry on the business of serving 
water in this Valley. But the plan did not work smoothly at the outset, 
owing to difference in opinion as to valuation. But President Heber 
finally offered to sell out for $3,000,000, and this offer was promptly 
accepted by the settlers, and congress was wired to that effect. But 
that body turned down the plan. Then there was more worry all through 
the Valley, and the development company became an object of distrust 
from that time forward. In the meantime Mr. Heber died at Goldfield, 
Nevada. But soon after this a deal was made with the railway company 
to close the river break for $200,000, which was given as a loan, the 
company being assigned a majority of the stock of the development 
company as security. 

Up to this time the men who had really done things, and made the 
reclamation of this desert possible, like Engineer Rockwood, who had 
sacrificed himself and his professional success; Mr. Chaffey, one of 
California's great builders ; Dr. Heffernan, who lost his fortune, and 
President Heber, who had devoted all his heroic energies to the cause, 
struggling through one financial crisis after another, had merged all 
their interests in this great railway company. 

Finally in the spring of 1910 Judge Lovett, the new president of the 
Pacific Board of Directors, decided that the California Development 
Company must be disposed of at once, so far as the railway corporation 
was concerned. This meant, of course, that it should be sold at auction 
to the highest bidder. Up to 1903 these promoters had very little to do 
with the national government in a direct way, except filing on public 
land. As a matter of fact, incredible as it may seem, very little was 
officially known in Washington concerning this glorious enterprise. 
Government engineers who had visited the Valley reported that the 
irrigation proposed would cost $10,000,000. Thus no further action was 
taken at the time. But in 1903 there seemed to be new interest shown 
in the reclamation of public lands in the West. This resulted from the 
work of Theodore Roosevelt, Senator Newlands, of Nevada, and Con- 
gressman Mendell, of Wyoming. But, as before stated, as a result of 
the opposing influence of the reclamation service the plan was de- 
feated. Various reasons for this antagonistic attitude were imputed. En- 
gineer Rockwood advanced the theory that no canal from the Colorado 
River could be a permanent success unless a diversion dam were con- 



structed across the river which would raise the water in order that the 
water might wash out the silt from the canal. This he thought was the 
contention of the government engineers at the time. But back of all this 
there seemed to be a hostile feeling among the officials of the Reclama- 
tion Service. Many attacks had been made upon the integrity of the 
promoters of the development company. It had been predicted that 
within twenty years dire calamity would befall these settlers in the 
Valley and that they would be drowned out, their homes and fields 
forming the bottom of a vast inland sea. Another consulting engineer 
in the service wrote in a similar vein, warning the people of the ruin 
impending. In this way the reclamation service showed their animosity 
toward this project. It was even hinted that the whole survey of 1854 
had really been made in a back room of a Yuma saloon. But the dis- 
covery of some old sticks of that survey would seem to refute this 
implication. Be that as it may, however, congress authorized a resurvey 
of the district in 1902, but this was not completed until six years later, 
for reasons unknown. Then there were still further complications and 
delay in getting the matter through the general land office, as well as 
many technical irregularities. And yet it is believed that while in other 
parts of the West much government land has been stolen, it is thought 
that none of this land in the Imperial Valley was dishonestly acquired 
by those now engaged in the attempt to reclaim it from the desert. 
Dishonesty rarely thrives in a desert waste. But as this began to grow 
into a fertile garden men of more technical nature than ethical sensi- 
bilities saw rich prizes here. Through some blunders of the land office 
officials they found many ranches where technical errors had been 
made. Thus they began many contests to titles held by rightful owners. 
But few of these were finally sustained, though in some cases they were 
boldly operated by professional contestors, acting for an organization. 
But the courts have decided that an innocent purchaser must be pro- 
tected. Concerning the relations between the United States government 
and the Imperial Valley, the main point pertains to the full control of 
this headstrong Colorado. President Roosevelt, in a special message to 
Congress, January, 1907, said that absolute and permanent relief should 
be afforded these land owners in this Valley in such a way as to prevent 
all further trouble from this river. He said that much of this land 
would be worth from $500 to $1500 per acre, with a total reaching 



perhaps $700,000,000, if this could be done. He asked Congress not only 
to return to the Southern Pacific Company the amount that would be 
required to close the second crevasse in the dikes at the heading, but 
also to appropriate sufficient money that the great river might be for- 
ever restrained from its erratic wanderings. And he claimed that this 
could not be done by any mere private enterprise. An international 
commission was thereupon appointed to study the necessities of the 
situation. This commission was composed of one member from the 
United States and the other from Mexico. Subsequently President Taft 
also asked an appropriation from Congress to control the Colorado, 
with the right to carry the work into Mexico. This bill, authorizing the 
President to use one million dollars for that purpose, was promptly 
rushed through both houses. The claim of the railway corporation for 
$1,500,000 for this work, after hanging fire for three years, was finally 
allowed in 1910, though in a reduced form. 


The purpose has been thus far to record with some detail the chronolog- 
ical history of the development and early progress of the Valley. If the 
account has been of a rambling nature, the writer will perhaps be par- 
doned when it is stated that it was deemed best to follow the order 
observed in previous records of these facts. It will be seen, as stated in 
a previous chapter, that the actual formation of the county itself was 
not among the early features of development here. San Diego County 
had an extended territory. It had been organized as a county in 1850, 
although the town dated back to 1769. But it remained a very insig- 
nificant dot on the map for over fifty years. Of course the reclamation 
of this lower section, known as the Colorado Desert, was wholly un- 
dreamed of at that time and for long years afterward. It was regarded 
as a worthless region, like many other desert sections of the United 
States. No one dreamed that people could ever be induced to live amid 
such desolation, so far from any railway line. But with the opening of 
the Imperial Valley a wholly different situation presented itself. The 
intervening distance and lack of transportation was sorely felt by the 
settlers. They were nearly 300 miles from the county seat, where all 
public business had to be transacted. The people were then dealing 
with the government offices, which sometimes seemed almost inacces- 

4 2 


sible to them practically. Thus they saw the need of some relief. The 
county officials of course also had this distance to contend with in 
reaching the residents of the Valley. The superintendent of schools had 
to drive across the mountains to visit the schools, and then cross the 
desert to a more distant settlement in the mining region. Thus it appears 
that except just before an election, when it was deemed necessary to 
interview these resident voters, the visits of thse San Diego County 
officials were supremely rare. Then, too, the isolation of the residents 
from the rest of the world, separated by vast desert wastes and moun- 
tain ranges, was in no way conducive to comradeship, save in their own 
immediate region. New-comers were commonly fused with the pioneers, 
and there developed what may be called an imperial spirit. This meant 
pride of section and an ambition to make it a unit in government as 
well as in purpose. This sentiment grew and soon became a powerful 
force in the early movement for county division. While the parent 
county was loathe to part with any part of its territory, the justice of 
this claim for separate government was too apparent to ignore. Thus, 
as detailed in a previous chapter, formal action was taken and the new 
County Imperial was duly launched and placed on the map of Califor- 
nia. The bitter struggle for the county seat has already been alluded to. 

An early act of the new Board of Supervisors created a Horticultural 
Commission for the suppression and prevention of pests and diseases 
to plant life. This commission has labored most effectively in the inter- 
est of farmers and growers, and the ravages of such pests common to 
older sections of the country have been kept out of this new county. 

It may be said also that magazine and other writers of the period 
have been surprised in not finding the usual features of the "wild and 
woolly west" in this reclaimed Valley. Nothing of this nature has pre- 
vailed here. The section is not favored by idle and dissolute men. There 
is no record of any gambling hells, drinking-places nor any immoral 
dance halls as yet, despite the prediction of some that when the Valley 
became more populous and prosperous there would be loafers on the 
streets and thieves along the highways. It is pleasant to record, there- 
fore, that up to this time that "high state of modern civilization" has 
not been reached in this new county. 

Another factor worthy of mention pertains to the temper and spirit 
of the settlers themselves. They come here to make their homes, live 






1 1 

* Bf&3 

r i 



: LJL 





and do business with all the energy they have, bent on the reclamation 
and cultivation of the soil to the fullest extent. They have little time 
or patience with incapacity or incompetence. Press, pulpit and public 
opinion are united in maintaining a high standard of decency and mor- 
ality. And these influences have discouraged the entrance of undesirable 

Referring further to some of the various county towns, it may be 
said that Calexico was at first a camp for the employees of the Califor- 
nia Development Company. But it soon increased in size and population, 
and became important because of its being the port of entry into Mex- 
ico by way of the Inter-California Railroad line through Baja to Yuma. 
The Blue Lake region was settled early by the San Diegans. It is also 
an important base of supplies. Brawley assumed considerable impor- 
tance in 1903 and it has grown rapidly since. East of the Alamo River 
Holtville is the supply basis. The Holton Interurban Line greatly im- 
proved the local transportation facilities. But the boom there came 
when the first artesian well was sunk, the money for the purpose having 
been raised by those having faith in the scheme, in spite of the ukase 
of geologists and scientists, who decided that no artesian water existed 
in the valley. The water-bearing gravel was struck at a depth of a little 
over 800 feet. This was in 1910, and the find created a big sensation in 
the vicinity. Not far away a second well was bored some 1100 feet 
deep. This passed through the sweet water and entered a stratum of 
sand which carried salt water. The well was filled up to the 800-foot 
level, where the water was all right. This discovery gave great impetus 
to these east side districts, where the soil was very fertile, and farmers 
began cutting up their holdings into small tracts in view of the artesian 
water possibilities, and there was an active demand for these small 
farms. Many new wells were bored at once and nearly all proved suc- 
cessful. But just how and to what extent the territory in the Valley is 
underlain with this fresh-water stream has not been definitely deter- 
mined, although drilling has been in progress in scattered sections. And 
yet it is not considered probable that it will be found in many parts of 
the Valley. But the fact that it was found at all shows that our scien- 
tific men are not always right in their deductions. 

The town of Heber was established at a point where another town 
had been planned. It has become an important trading point, and an 



agricultural institution known as the Heber Collegiate Institute is 
located there. 

The town of Imperial was so named for the Valley itself, as it is the 
geographical center of the county. 

Calexico is a combination of California and Mexico in name, while 
the border town of Mexicali received its appellation by a similar method. 
Holtville was named in honor of Mr. W. F. Holt, its promoter. El 
Centro is Spanish for the center. Brawley got its name for a friend of 
Mr. Heber in Chicago. Silsbee, on the shore of Blue Lake, was named 
by a former land owner there. And this was the prevailing method used 
in the bestowal of names for most of the smaller towns in the county. 
There are several smaller places in the Valley, however, without any 
special names as yet. 

Within these county bounds are still an Indian reservation and school, 
six working gold mines and a large part of the mechanical apparatus 
belonging to the $4,000,000 government reclamation project. This Yuma 
Indian reservation contains 16,150 acres, of which 6500 were thrown 
open to entry under the homestead act of 1910 and immediately taken 
up. The balance of this land is still in possession of the Yuma Indian 
tribe, numbering 700 members of all ages and both sexes. This land is 
equally divided among them. And yet some 350 of them were in revolt 
against the government and the Indian school in 1895. The Catholic 
sisters, then in charge of the school, were driven off the reservation and 
fled to Mexico, where they now live. It is thought that many of these 
will never return, and thus more of this land will be thrown open for 


Much has been said concerning the project of putting the water system 
under the Laguna Dam at some future time. This is known as the Yuma 
Project. Twelve miles north of Yuma, on the Colorado, the water falls 
between two rocky headlands, Laguna on the Arizona side, and Potholes 
in Imperial County. These rocks are about one mile apart, and the 
government has built a weir which cost $1,650,000. This is a fixed spill- 
way ten feet from the bed of the channel, and water may be taken from 
the sluiceways at either end of the weir. The purpose here is to par- 
tially settle the water which is taken into the distributing canals, the 


top being skimmed for irrigation purposes, and the silt carried back 
into the river with the surplus. The total cost of this structure in Im- 
perial County is about $750,000, in addition to the dam itself. Most of 
this work has been completed. The reasons for the diversion of this 
water under the river are, first, the only available site for such a struc- 
ture was at Laguna, and second, that the entrance of the Gila River on 
the east prevented carrying the water in canals in Arizona to the Yuma 
lands, which lie below the level of the Gila stream. Many plans have 
been proposed to put this Valley system under this diversion weir. But 
there seem to have been insurmountable objections to all of these thus 
far. And among these is the opposition of the people to any plan placing 
their water system under the control of the government Reclamation 
Service because of its antagonistic attitude from the start. 

The opening of the Yuma Reservation lands to settlement in 1910 
added some 173 farms to those already in the county. These average 
about forty acres each and are proving very productive under the ex- 
cellent water system provided. These farms pay $65 an acre for water 
rights under the Laguna project. 

The Yuma Indian School was built by the United States army in 
1848, and it stands on an historic hill. Generals Fremont and Kearney 
made their headquarters on this hill on many occasions, and for ten 
years a large garrison was maintained there. It was the scene of many 
battles with the Indians, and there are still many marks of those con- 
flicts. While these Yuma Indians are now quiet and docile, they do not 
take kindly to American civilization, as most other aborigines do. There 
appears to be a discouraging tendency among the tribesmen to return 
to their native ways after they leave school. 


While the biographical section of this work will be found to include 
detailed accounts of the life and history of the great pioneers and pro- 
moters of this Valley, it is not out of place perhaps to make some gen- 
eral reference to their work in this general article as well. 

Among these is Mr. W. F. Holt, who is credited with being the most 
noted man here and has become wealthy through his legitimate pro- 
motion of the Valley's interests. His town property holdings at one 
time were the largest of any single individual in the region. He is a 


virile and able business man and far-seeing, tireless worker in any good 
cause that appeals to him, always optimistic and enthusiastic regarding 
this Valley and its glowing possibilities, ready to infuse new courage 
into despondent men who may be overcome by adversity. A strict 
philanthropist, he would give a tramp a pile of wood first and double 
pay afterward. The needs of this Valley have been uppermost in his 
mind, and he has spent vast sums of money in its development. A Mis- 
souri man, born on a farm there, married his old-time sweetheart, and 
they have been active partners ever since. He established banks in dif- 
ferent parts of the West, but was always in search of some new country 
where he could help it grow and develop. What a find he was, therefore, 
to this Valley ! It was in the spring of 1901 when he first looked across 
the vista of years into a country of many homes and big with possibili- 
ties. He thought it might become an empire, and he began at once to 
boost its interests. His first thought was to build a telephone line to the 
outside world. After receiving an exclusive franchise for this purpose 
and a small block of water-stock from the Imperial Land Company he 
went right ahead stringing his wires. Meanwhile he saw the advantages 
of a local newspaper, and this was accordingly established on a similar 
basis. He installed the plant and placed Henry Clay Reid in charge. 
This was the beginning of the Imperial Press. Being a churchman and 
in favor of promoting ethics, morality and education, and the higher 
principles of civic progress, he secured the influence and association of 
friends and an organization was effected and a small church edifice was 
built, Mr. Holt paying the salary of the preacher for two years. Mean- 
while the land company was in hearty accord with him and agreed to 
furnish water stock to repay him. He always regarded this move of 
vast importance to the best interests of the Valley and said it was a 
start to build here a civilization ahead of the time. One day, riding out 
on the stage, he heard two thirsty men bemoaning the absence of 
saloons, saying they would not put a cent into the country until sure 
that saloons would be permitted. Mr. Holt told them such men were not 
wanted there at all, nor one cent of their capital. Strange to say, how- 
ever, that one of these very men has since invested thousands of dollars 
there and now says that this prohibition of saloons was the best thing 
the Valley ever did. Mr. Holt was also instrumental in securing the 
railway from Imperial to the main line on the Southern Pacific, some 


28 or 30 miles. He afterward made large profits from a favorable con- 
tract with the California Development Company as a promoter, to 
which he was justly entitled. He in turn assisted the development com- 
pany to much ready money at different times, and, in fact, became a 
sort of national banker for the settlers. 

This man had implicit faith in the future of this Valley. He believed 
in the people and the righteousness of human nature in general. He 
had never been cheated out of a dollar in his life, never brought a law- 
suit to collect damages or claims, never foreclosed a mortgage, and yet 
had been loaning money and selling on credit all his life. Give a man a 
chance and time to pay and don't crowd him, was his motto. He be- 
lieved in people. It was in this way that he kept on buying, building, 
improving and spending money in the Valley. Thus at the opening of 
1903 he had increased his capital by over $20,000. After irrigating No. 
7 district he saw water running to waste in the Alamo channel and was 
told it had between 500 and 1000 horsepower of electric energy. Then 
he formed the Holton Power Company, and a few months afterward 
men wanted to buy stock in that corporation, but there was none on the 
market. He purchased townsites and built the Interurban Railway. One 
of these townsites became El Centro later. He built a business block 
and the Opera House, costing $50,000, even then when the total popu- 
lation of the town could have been seated in a single passenger coach. 
People said a lot of mean things about him, some of which were true, 
too. Many don't like him, but lots of others do. The Holt Power Com- 
pany is capitalized for a million dollars, owning the electric-light plant 
in five towns, three other power-plants and five cold-storage houses. 
And during late years Mr. Holt has begun the construction of a gridiron 
system of roads which reaches the shipping of every acre of ground 
in the entire district. Other most important enterprises are being rap- 
idly carried forward, and the land company is now capitalized for over 
three million dollars. Mr. Holt surely has been a true pioneer and per- 
haps the greatest of them all in Imperial Valley. The record here given 
is only a brief summary of his many achievements. 

Mr. W. E. Wilsie is another of these prominent pioneer settlers who 
have won marked success. Coming first in 1901, in the following No- 
vember he laid out the streets of Brawley, which then had only two 
other residents. In the succeeding winter he farmed 300 acres, and the 


next summer shipped three carloads of barley and one of wheat, the 
first ever shipped from the Valley. And it had been cut by a combined 
reaper and harvester. He afterward became associated with numerous 
corporations in the Valley in an official capacity, and was also Horticul- 
tural Commissioner of the county, winning high favor for his most 
effective service in that position. He was a director in the first creamery 
and stock-breeders' association, president of the first cantaloupe asso- 
ciation, secretary of the library board, trustee of the Heber Collegiate 
Institute, and an official in various other corporations. 

Mr. George Nichols was also among these prominent early pioneers. 
He shared in the colonization of newcomers and in all public affairs, 
especially near Silsbee. He was also a leader in road and school district 
work. More than ioo persons were brought into the Valley by him, 
most of them from the old San Diego section. He opened the first real 
estate office in Imperial. His own ranch was six miles southwest of 
El Centra, where he now runs a real estate office. He saw the first crop 
of alfalfa grown in the Valley, near Diamond Lake. 

Roy McPherrin was among the first lawyers in this section, and he 
tells some quaint stories of conditions he found on arrival to take a 
position in the Imperial Mutual Water Company, in connection with 
which he had a prominent share in the reclamation of the land. 

W. H. Hartshorn was another leading pioneer. He became manager 
of the ice-plant erected by the Imperial Land Company, and he kept 
the price of this much-needed commodity at one cent per pound. He 
afterward piped the city for water and turned on the first water used 
in the homes. Then next he established a transfer company, with a 
specially designed dray for the purpose, with a big bay horse in front 
of the vehicle that created quite a sensation on the streets. He also 
shared materially in the colonization work, having an extensive ac- 
quaintance on the coastside of San Diego County. He built one of the 
first private residences in Imperial. 

Mr. J. H. Holland came from San Jose with a full line of stock and 
farming implements. After spending some time in building canals and 
hauling freight from the railroad he stocked his farm and planted 

For a time the introduction of Bermuda grass into this Valley was 
regarded as a dangerous accession, and it became known as "devil 


grass." But Mr. D. W. Breckenridge, who entered the Valley soon 
afterward, found use for it. He sent to Arizona for seed, and on this 
rich forage he raised the best fatted cattle of the season. And he sub- 
sequently had great success with this grass for years in rearing cattle 
and sheep. It starts growing early in the spring, and the animals seem 
very fond of it. He claims it has as much nourishment as alfalfa, with 
no tendency to disease. It also possesses great heat and drouth resisting 
qualities. This proved a decided innovation, as the grass had been uni- 
versally condemned by others. He also thwarted successfully several 
attempts to rob him of his land there on a technicality, in the courts. 

The first important butcher and meat shop in the region was opened 
by the Thing Brothers, of Calexico. They bought and killed their own 
stock, and finally, in 1907, they built a fine business block, the largest in 
this southern end of the Valley. 

W. A. Young, another Valley pioneer, drove in from a point near 
Los Angeles in 1901. Poor and pretty nearly broke he said he was at 
that, time. His family lived under a "ramada" made of arrowweed 
shoots thatched on a frame eight feet high. These "ramadas" are famil- 
iar objects all through the Valley, few of the ranches being without 
them. Their shelter from the sun is superior to anything else. 

W. C. Raymond, a Canadian, who went to Arizona several years ago 
and roughed it there until he heard of this Valley in 1903, saddled up 
and rode into this promised land. Here he camped until finding a suit- 
able location, when he began his work upon improvements at once. But 
now the old river rushed into his ranch and drove him out, and he 
finally moved to another, planted 320 acres of barley and alfalfa, and 
raised hogs with success, cleaning up $7000 in 1909. Then he put in 80 
acres of cotton the next year. 

William Lindsey was one of the great eastside pioneers who arrived 
in 1902, when the place was still a wilderness. But he also was driven 
out by the flood. The Colorado was no respecter of persons, but it some- 
times seemed the great stream sought to discourage newcomers. But 
Mr. Lindsey finally overcame this unfriendly greeting and prospered. 

D. H. Coe rode in on a bicycle in 1901, passed through all the trials 
and tribulations incident to that period, and now has a ranch of 200 
acres six miles northwest of Holtville, and is one of the most enthusi- 
astic boosters of the country. The mercury stood at 117 when he ar- 



rived, and his wheel was a great help to him, although he saw not a 
soul except from a distance at the time. But he rode straight to the spot 
he wanted and now has some 200 acres planted in alfalfa, barley and 
cotton, a large herd of stock, and is a purely business rancher. 

F. E. Van Horn, three miles east of El Centro, was among the first 
to reach and grow up with the Valley, and his faith in it has never 
flagged. He started the first school ever held there, walking three miles 
each way, with books very hard to get, and the methods of teaching 
very primitive. 

Among those who became early impressed with the value of cotton 
as a Valley crop was L. E. Srack, who came from Riverside in 1901. 
Later he installed plants for the care of the by-products of cotton-oil 
and cotton-seed meal, which were built in 1910. 

Among the pioneers there with unconquerable souls, who fought the 
water floods back and won, was B. F. McDonald. When he saw the 
flood coming in he said : "We have put this water on the land where we 
want it ; now we can surely keep it off when we don't want it. Let's 
try." They did, and won in the end. The waters receded and their 
ranches and stock were saved because of their vigilant and effective 
efforts. Being a Louisiana cottonman originally, he knew the game and 
how to manage it, having 160 acres in cotton. He was enthusiastic over 
the merits of that staple for that region. 

Steve Lyons was of Irish descent. Having been reared on a ranch in 
Salinas, some of the advantages of city school life and social intercourse 
with cultured and educated people had left an impress upon his native 
character. And it is said of him that he possessed the spirit of the Val- 
ley in a marked degree. He brought some capital into the new country, 
and much sound business judgment, all products of hard work and 
good thinking. The Valley had been only partially developed in 1904 
when Steve arrived. The territory west of Calexico was barely 
scratched, although the ditch system was under construction in the 
entire west side. Lyons saw that land was to be king and he filed on a 
half-section at once. But seeing a more profitable field for his activities 
in the contracting business, he pitched into that with his brothers, and 
they built over fifty miles of the main ditches and laterals for the Cali- 
fornia Development Company. Being skilled in the work, they found no 
difficulty in securing good contracts for grading and ditching. Mean- 


while Steve began developing his own property, and in the fall of 1907, 
when the new County Imperial was launched, these Lyons boys baled 
more hay and threshed more grain than any other combination in the 
district. They operated on a large scale and kept forever going ahead 
with courage and unshaken nerve, in spite of all threatened river dan- 
gers. They bought 565 acres in Mexico, near Calexico, which they pur- 
posed to use as a model stock farm or a cotton plantation. 

Such are some of the characteristics which go to make up the aggres- 
sive spirit, and yet conservative business balance in agriculture. It is 
ability coupled with willingness, good health, mental, moral and phys- 
ical, and above all an abounding faith in the work in hand. This imparts 
self-confidence and insures success. 

Socially, perhaps, no man in the Valley has done more for the pro- 
motion of affairs than Phil. W. Brooks, whose ranch is between El 
Centro and Holtville. His generous hospitality is well known from 
Yuma to Cuayamaca. He came from a New England agricultural school, 
at Amherst College, in 1903, possessing enthusiasm and energy and cap- 
ital. He bought and sold ranches and developed them, and now, near 
El Centro, he has 80 acres of Thompson's seedless grapes, besides other 
lands. He is now the general manager of the Britten-Cook Land and 
Live-stock Company, which is investing hundreds of thousands of dol- 
dollars in the hog-raising industry in Imperial Valley. Mr. Brooks has 
recently resigned the office of receiver of the U. S. Land Office at El 
Centro. Mr. Brooks has been a powerful factor for good in that com- 
munity, through his influence in relieving the monotony of frontier 

Dave Williams was among the early pioneers in the realm of sports. 
He organized, financed and managed the Imperial Valley Wild West 
shows, which furnished so much entertainment and amusement for 
thousands in the winter of 1909. He is called the father of the Christ- 
mas fiesta idea that made Holtville famous. He is also a public-spirited 
man who never fails to respond when called upon for assistance in the 
promotion of the best interests of the district. He takes time to enjoy 
life as he goes along and tries to help others do the same. And yet he 
is not a retired capitalist, but only a plain rancher. He came originally 
from Canada, ranched for some years in Washington, and then heard 
of this Valley, where he bought a ranch in the spring of 1907. Here he 



now has 560 acres in alfalfa and 27 stacks of hay containing some 900 
tons. On one of these fertile fields this farmer found a single stalk of 
alfalfa 7 feet 8^2 inches long. This ranch is five miles from Holtville, 
on the Highland Boulevard, the finest nine-mile stretch of road in that 
district. He delights in outdoor sports, and is always ready to "start 
something" of that nature. He is credited with having added, more 
than any other man, to the joy of living on that side of the Alamo 

H. J. Messinger of Holtville was a frontiersman, having served as 
Indian trader, teacher and reservation superintendent. Next he became 
a member of the territorial legislature, and assisted in the government 
formation. While in northern Arizona, trading with the Indians, he 
learned of the Imperial Valley settlement. Gathering a carload of work- 
stock, he reached there in 1903, when the east side was beginning to 
blossom. He began building ditches and sowing seed, mainly upon 
leased land. But, prospering in grain raising, he soon entered the grain 
commission and seed business. In 1904 he finally settled in Holtville, 
opened a livery and feed business, but also continued his farm work on 
leased land, although he afterward acquired an extensive acreage and 
speculated most advantageously. In 1908 he brought to the front what 
is known as the "high-line country." 

Mr. William J. Mansfield came into the Valley in 1903, having some 
capital and business experience. He went to work himself in a new suit 
of overalls, with his team, on the hummocks, which he bravely sub- 
dued. He thinks he spent some $22,000, exclusive of his own work. 
But it resulted in one of the finest ranches in the district, where he soon 
became a prominent leader. Later he was selected as the Republican 
candidate for State Assemblyman from that district, for which he had 
every qualification, being a farmer, business man and director in vari- 
ous corporations. It is of course unnecessary to add that Mr. Mans- 
field has been an Imperial Valley booster from the first. 

Mr. George A. Long was for years called the "cattle king" of the 
Valley. He fattened more steers than any other man, and built a mod- 
ern sanitary meat packing house from government plans. He fattened 
stock at his own expense, and bought 320 acres between the towns of 
El Centro and Imperial, put it into alfalfa, fenced and divided it into 
separate pastures. In addition to this, however, he leased nearly 1000 


acres adjoining, upon which he fattened the Arizona mountain-bred 
steers, of which he usually had from 1000 to 3000 head in various 
stages of preparation. 

Thomas O'Neil, a ranch owner near Imperial now, came from a 
peaceful town in Pennsylvania with an absorbing desire to fight Indi- 
ans, but without any idea of the hardships, discomforts and dangers 
attendant upon that warlike pursuit. He followed the intrepid Custer 
through the Yellowstone campaign in 1873, and the round-up in the 
Black Hills the next year which led to the fatal Big Horn fight in 1876. 
But O'Neil had left the Black Hills and went pioneering on his own 
account in Phoenix, Arizona, and finally brought up in Imperial Val- 
ley in the winter of 1902. Here he leased 64 acres and established a 
small dairy. He was then a bachelor with only his famous "Snip" pony 
as a companion, but later he took Mrs. Adams as life partner, and he 
now laughs as he recalls the place and methods of his courtship, as he 
smokes his evening pipe of contentment in his comfortable home. 

Other romantic incidents of this nature might well be cited here if 
space permitted. And yet the career of Harry Van den Heuvel, who 
came in from Riverside in 1903, with $25 of borrowed money, seems 
worthy of mention. Pie went to work for others with a vim that meant 
success. In 1904 he began to coax his quarter-section of land west of 
El Centro upon which he had filed into productiveness. His only part- 
ner was an old gray mare, and she stood by him from first to last and 
did most effective service. Finding trouble in securing help to thresh 
his grain crop, he secured a threshing machine and went at it himself 
and also worked for his neighbors with it. In this way he re-established 
his credit, paid all his bills with interest and had a surplus left. The old 
gray mare at last accounts was feeding in a broad field of alfalfa, pen- 
sioned for life. Six hundred of these fertile acres are now under Heu- 
vel's control, and his place is valued at $60,000, free and clear. 

Between El Centro and Mobile is the "Poole Place," which is noted 
for its high state of cultivation, with many fine shade trees and a pros- 
perous looking home. Mr. Poole is a typical American farmer who came 
in November, 1903, with no capital save his personal energy and de- 
termination to succeed. With these valuable assets he went to work, 
put in his crops on 2220 acres, housing his family in a rude shelter for 
a time until he could build a more permanent home, which now stands 



in sharp contrast with the old quarters. Meanwhile he leased 320 addi- 
tional acres near at hand. While on a short vacation a fire broke out in 
his house, destroying 60 tons of hay and a much valued young stallion, 
and considerable other property. But he took this misfortune resigned- 
ly, and in the spring of 1910 he erected a fine new dwelling at a cost of 

It has been customary in the East in referring to these farmers and 
rural residents by writers who speak of them as "hayseeds," with long 
hair and whiskers, unkempt and unsophisticated, and even yet this class 
is furnishing inspiration to caricaturists and pencil-pushers for comic 
supplements. But it may be said here that these early pioneers in this 
Valley were not of that class, if indeed there ever was such a class of 
people any way as these imaginative writers try to picture. Pioneers 
with the courage and grit to squat in such a desolate waste as this was 
before its reclamation are made of wholly different stuff. In order to 
bring a ranch into a high grade of efficiency and make it yield dividends 
there must be business sagacity back of all the hard work. 

Mr. J. H. Blodgett, who filed on a full section of this reclaimed land 
five miles northwest of Holtville, is a man of this type. He came from 
Nebraska in the fall of 1904 with small means and lots of energy and 
ambition. He put in alfalfa, with some grain and other annual crops, 
and hogs as a side line, and also a few dairy features. And he says he 
has found this combination profitable and desirable and would not run 
a ranch without it. But he also planted cotton, of which he had 250 
acres in 1910, without even suspecting or anticipating the sharp ad- 
vance in price of this staple that the war would bring. He has made 
good in hog-raising, feeding them skimmed milk, alfalfa, corn and bar- 
ley. This man was the first in the No. 5 district to drill for artesian 
water, which he struck with a strong flow at a depth of 580 feet. This 
supply has been piped into his house and farm hydrants. 

James M. Potts is another example worthy of emulation by anemic 
youths who stand behind dry-goods counters, or sit upon high office 
stools wrestling with figures and bemoaning their lack of opportunity 
to do something worth while at a big salary and be somebody. Mr. 
Potts was only 21 when he reached the Valley in 1905. But he borrowed 
$100 cash in some way and took up some land near Holtville. Mixing 
brains with his labor, he traded, worked for others and tilled his own 


farm, all with success. He brought a carload of horses and mules from 
the coast, turned them loose in his alfalfa patch for a time, which re- 
newed their youth and vigor in a way that enabled him to sell out at a 
handsome profit. This experiment was frequently repeated with like 
results, and the profits were put back into the ranch improvements, 
where he now has 60 acres of alfalfa and 20 acres of cotton. This 
shows what industry, persistence and faith will do for a man who is in 
earnest to succeed. The record does not show that Mr. Potts was a great 
genius, as the world defines that special gift. But it does show that he 
made the very best use of his native equipment. 

Lee Dutcher, who came to the Valley early in 1905, is another man of 
this type. And it should be said that the region has been very fortunate 
in having so many of this class among its early settlers. But for this 
fact its development and progress would not have been so marked nor 
so permanent. 

W. S. Moore, who came from western Pennsylvania in the fall of 
1903, with $45 cash and a roll of blankets, struck a job as laborer at 
once, and kept at it until he could buy a team of horses and a hay- 
press. The following summer he secured 160 acres of land near the 
present site of El Centre He planted barley and alfalfa, and the next 
year added some stock. In 1909 he began to call his place a "ranch" like 
the rest of the "fellers" because he had 150 hogs and 27 cows, and 
planned to feed them. He then lost a little by a cantaloupe experience 
which, however, he made up with his hogs and forgot about his mel- 
ons. His 1910 trial balance showed assets aggregating $35,200. 

The personal history and achievements of I. J. Harris, who came to 
the Valley with an invalid wife from Louisiana in 1904, is also inter- 
esting. She was suffering from a bronchial affection and came here in 
search of relief. Instead of taking government land, as most of the set- 
tlers did, Mr. Harris bought his land outright, though he came to Im- 
perial without any capital. He went to work by the day, and after a 
time he saved money enough to buy 80 acres more, this time in the Mes- 
quite Lake section. He is a great believer in the eucalyptus, but he also 
raised fine crops of alfalfa, barley and grapes. After six years of this 
Valley life his wife had regained her health. Mr. Harris is one of the 
best citizens of the Valley. 

In a public address to college men at an informal luncheon in Im- 


perial in 1910 President Babcock, of the University of Arizona, advised 
small farm units of from 15 to 20 acres in this reclaimed section. While 
this might result in dense population in large central towns, and in- 
creased business of all kinds, it would mean also more intensive farm 

Acting perhaps upon these suggestions, Mr. S. C. Tomkins purchased 
40 acres near Holtville, where he plans to make a fortune. He started a 
small dairy with 30 cows, experimenting with "balanced rations," with 
mixed feed and hay. And he reports most encouraging results, having 
already built an alfalfa mill large enough for his own work and for the 
use of his neighbors. He now claims he can feed one dairy cow on an 
acre the year through and leave room enough for truck raising, fruit 
and poultry. All his experiments thus far have been confined to this 40 
acres of land. He came from Los Angeles after a long experience in 
commercial life, and has therefore conducted his ranch on business 

J. M. Cardiff came from San Bernardino when things in the Valley 
didn't look very promising. After living in an irrigation country for 
many years he looked upon the vagrant Colorado River with consider- 
able alarm unless it could be permanently controlled. But he concluded 
to cast his lot with the many powerful corporations which he knew had 
everything at stake and were taking every chance. He had invested 
every cent he had in the Valley and never lost faith in it because he was 
a cheery optimist by nature and training anyway. But he lost his life 
in an accident in 1907, though his family were left with a comfortable 
competence, and his sons resumed the work where their father left off, 
and they have a fine ranch of 320 acres. 

The hog-raising industry has become popular throughout the Valley 
because of its unfailing returns year after year. But owing to the high 
price of pork and its numerous products, and the haste to produce them 
little attention was at first given to careful breeding in order to secure 
the best results. But that is a thing of the past. Today Imperial Valley 
swine are among the best in the country. 

Among the first to bring in thoroughbreds was Arthur McCollum, 
who had a ranch near Imperial. He had been a postal clerk in San Jose 
after twenty years on a farm, where his health failed. He preceded his 
wife in this Valley by some three weeks, and their combined capital at 


that time was $2.15. And yet he managed to secure a bit of ranch land, 
some 40 acres, upon which he raised only pedigreed stock, as Ohio Im- 
proved Chesters and Poland Chinas, and all under the most perfect 
sanitary conditions. He dealt only with hog-breeders and not with pork 

Another man of this class is Mr. J. R. Sturgis, who has both the 
means and the ability to insure success. He has 160 acres not far from 
Holtville which are mainly devoted to alfalfa, barley and wheat. He 
experiments with thoroughbred stock, such as Poland China and Berk- 
shire, and he is making a careful study of the whole problem of hog- 
raising. He has found that this stock costs about one-third less feed 
and care, and can be fattened more rapidly than the common stock. He 
expects to ship a carload of this stock every two months. He also con- 
tends that the quality of this pork is always superior, the animals are 
smoother in appearance, stronger and better nourished. He came into 
the Valley from Ventura County in 1908. 

One of the largest breeders in the Valley, however, is Mr. J. M. 
Prim, who arrived in 1905 from an Illinois farm after considerable ex- 
perience with hogs there. He leased 320 acres of land in the rich No. 5 
district, four miles from Holtville. But just about that time the big river 
came into the Valley too, and it was a dark outlook for Prim for some 
months when this unwelcome water was pouring over the hopes and 
plans of the settlers. But by 1907, when the river break had been closed, 
Prim was animated with fresh courage, and he even leased some more 

But the next year there was a decided slump in the pork market, 
and he lost some $10,000 with his pigs. But he kept at it, and in 1910 
the buyers were fighting each other, and he sold three carloads for 
$5000. Having then 3200 hogs, he had to buy 80 more acres of land. 
Upon this he raised barley and Filipino wheat. This he feeds to his 
stock by an automatic feeder, with no waste nor any dirt, although the 
device is costly in the first instance. Mr. Prim is a systematic man with 
careful methods, though in some respects he has been called a "plung- 
er." Among his many improvements on that ranch is a large reservoir 
from which he can irrigate his land if necessary. 

Mr. A. L. Bliss, a man of reputed wealth, was also an early believer 
in hogs for this Valley. He came from Illinois, where he had served as 


secretary, president and superintendent of the Swine Breeders' Asso- 
ciation, and a student of the hog industry for some time. On one occa- 
sion he had owned a Poland China boar that was valued at $8000. His 
advent into the Valley was in the fall of 1909. He then had an idea of 
buying from 40 to 80 acres for certain experiments he had in mind. 
But he finally bought 640 acres on the northern limits of Holtville, and 
afterwards invested in 320 more near El Centre For once it seems the 
advertisements he had read about the Valley fell short of the truth. The 
surprise was most agreeable and really prolonged the short visit he had 
intended to a permanent stay. When a young man he taught school, 
became a trustee and later superintendent of the schools for many 
years. But now he can afford to go back on the farm and take life easy. 


While the farmer and the tiller of the soil must be accorded first place 
in the development and progress of this reclaimed Valley, there are 
also those in other pursuits who have had very important shares in the 
work of organization and construction. Some of these men deserve 
favorable mention in this record of achievement. While it might seem 
unjust or even invidious perhaps to single out any one man and pile all 
the honors upon him for what has been done in this line, it must be said 
by those familiar with the situation and most competent to express an 
opinion that Mr. H. H. Peterson is entitled to first mention. The vari- 
ous towns of the Valley might have been built without him perhaps, 
but they certainly were not. And yet he was only a maker of brick and 
a contractor who furnished the materials and did most of the work of 
construction. But for him many of these buildings would probably have 
been of wooden construction and far less substantial either in appear- 
ance or durability. He came here in December, 1903, and for three 
years had a pretty hard time. There had been a small hand brickyard 
near Imperial for two years, operated by Harbour & Carter. But their 
output was very small and inferior in quality. The demand always ex- 
ceeded the supply, however, on account of the scarcity of labor and 
the attendant expense of the slow methods in use. When Mr. Peterson 
arrived he took in the situation at a glance and promptly decided that 
contracting and brick making should be his vocation. He came from 
Los Angeles, where he obtained large practical experience in the work 



he was now about to undertake. He bought out Carter's interest in the 
firm and joined Mr. Harbour in the business. They molded and burned 
a kiln of brick at Calexico, where they began to erect a hotel. And they 
were soon swamped with orders. But they found it easier to sell their 
brick than to make them with their crude and inadequate appliances. 
Labor was scarce and the work was hard and unattractive. But in spite 
of all this they built another yard at Holtville, this time on a larger 
scale. And yet they had to haul all the water from the Alamo channel 
in barrels and could only work on part time for lack of men. 

He also erected buildings in El Centro, Brawley, Holtville, Calexico 
and Imperial, and for these he made the brick himself. Among the most 
important of these structures was the High School building in Imperial. 
He made over ten million brick, and the value of his buildings is said to 
aggregate $750,000. From the autumn of 1901 to the summer of 1910 
his contracts amounted to $100,000 in the town of Imperial alone. But 
in spite of his prosperity and success he has had to face many troubles, 
as does every aggressive man who does things. Skilled labor was almost 
impossible to get and keep, even at the high wages he paid. Then, too, 
nearly all his materials had to be brought either from Los Angeles or 
San Francisco. He now owns about 560 acres of land in the Valley, in- 
cluding his vast deposits of sand and gravel on the bank of New River 
near Imperial which is required for his brick-plant operations. 

Mr. J. L. Travers is also widely known as a pioneer contractor in 
the Valley. He was really the first man on the ground. The town of El 
Centro was then only a spot in the desert. But when the townsite was 
purchased by the Redlands Syndicate, the firm of Fairchilds & Travers 
were prominent contractors and builders in that famous citrus region. 
Thus it was that Travers, accompanied by a trusty foreman, dropped 
off the train in this desert waste in November, 1906, half a mile north 
of the El Centro depot. The El Centro Hotel was Travers' first con- 
tract there, and everybody regarded the project as a joke. But the 
work went right ahead. He was next asked to build the Holt Opera 
House, which was another shock to the settlers, as there were only 
about ten permanent residents there at the time. Water had to be 
pumped up from the ditch, and this ditch was a pretty important ele- 
ment in the situation. Long before these two big contracts were com- 
pleted however, Travers was overwhelmed with many others, and he 


became one of the biggest contractors in that part of the Valley. Dur- 
ing four years there his contracts amounted to more than a million dol- 
lars. Nearly all the best buildings in the town were designed and con- 
structed by him. Extensive ice and cold storage plants in the various 
towns were his work. And the main street in El Centro presents all the 
features of leading thoroughfares in older sections of the country to- 
day. Then, when another flood was threatened in 1906, he took his en- 
tire force of men and assisted the farmers in building up the levees. 

Dr. Elmer E. Patten, who came in 1908, was the first health officer 
and county physician. He was also a man of much public spirit, and 
keenly alive to the best interests of the people. A full water supply and 
good fire protection for the city of Imperial were secured through his 
efforts in 1909 ; also a public sewer system, a new city hall and a Carne- 
gie library, and a $55,000 high school were all built under his regime. 

But in this record of personal achievement the business world, as 
represented by the merchant should not be omitted. Next to the oldest 
mercantile firm in Imperial is that organized by George Varney, and 
known as Varney Bros. & Co., who came in 1902. Their stock was 
small at first, though ample for the needs of that time. They ran the 
store without much assistance, but sold about $100 worth of goods a 
day during the first few weeks. The first carload of goods that came 
over the railway was consigned to them, but it had to be carted four 
miles from the line owing to the incomplete condition of the road. In 
1910 Varney Bros. & Co. had five stores, a floor space of 28,000 feet, 
32 employees and stock valued at $85,000. Their annual sales then ex- 
ceeded $540,000. Since then they have added a large new store in Calex- 
ico. They have a capital stock of $200,000, and the annual sales of the 
chain of stores runs into millions. 

One of the first engineers in this region was Mr. C. N. Perry, a tire- 
less and most effective worker and a most faithful leader in that all im- 
portant branch of reclamation. 


As has been already learned by the reader of this volume, the finan- 
cial end of the great project in this Valley has overshadowed every 
other feature from its very inception. This perhaps is the history of 
every important enterprise the world over. But in no case has it formed 


so vital a factor in the conduct and development of any scheme as pre- 
sents itself in the reclamation of this desert. And perhaps in few other 
instances has there been so much trouble and delay in procuring the 
needed money to prosecute the work as here. And it may also be said 
that but for the most successful diplomacy on the part of energetic men 
at different crucial periods of the work the entire project must have 
been a failure. Contributing in a large measure to this situation the per- 
sistent antagonism of the national government, from whatever cause it 
may have arisen, must share the blame. At times when the prospect of 
success seemed brightest this spectre of opposition cast its shadow over 
the scheme, discouraging the operators not only, but the heroic and 
faithful settlers themselves, who began to doubt, distrust and even 
despair of the whole project. But here were men engaged in this vast 
enterprise who were fearless and undaunted, ready to overcome any ob- 
stacle that might confront them. Their unbounded faith in the plan was 
not merely of a mercenary character. They wanted to succeed at any 
cost and were content to receive their laurels when the triumph was 
over. Whether or not they ever did receive their full measure of praise 
and glory is, however, a question. But the beneficent results of their la- 
bors live after them, and will continue to live through future ages when 
their names have been forgotten. 

Among the local bankers now is President F. B. Fuller, of the El 
Centro National Bank, who came into the Valley from Texas. He first 
bought a 160-acre ranch near El Centro, and also a residence site upon 
which he afterward built the first permanent residence in the Valley. 
He opened his bank in very modest quarters in 1907. Deposits came in 
rapidly, and the wisdom of his venture was apparent at once. The bank 
proved a great convenience. Two years later he began the erection of 
his new building on the site previously selected. This is now one of the 
most attractive structures on that street. 

The subject of land titles and boundaries soon became of vital im- 
portance. There were many questions as to the validity of titles which 
arose in different sections, and there seemed to be no recognized author- 
ity in the matter. This annoying condition prevailed for six or seven 
years, and it occasioned much delay in development. People did not 
really know for a certainty what they were buying or where. At length, 
however, what became known as the Imperial County Abstract Com- 


pany was organized by the farmers. But this was soon absorbed by the 
Peoples' Abstract and Title Company of Riverside County. The bounds 
of every ranch is doubly marked, which was made necessary by the 
flood and the hasty survey of the government in 1856, when nobody 
dreamed of any reclamation of this barren Colorado Desert. The set- 
tlers obtained some relief, however, in this respect by an act of Con- 
gress in 1902 which provided in substance that no bona-fide claim of 
any actual occupant should be impaired, and eventually the record title 
should conform to the land actually occupied. A new survey was then 
made and patents were issued on that basis. 

Of course in all this tangle of red tape the legal profession saw its 
opportunity, and were not slow to avail themselves of it. Many of these 
legal problems were handled in the office of the first district attorney, 
the late John M. Eshleman, afterward lieutenant-governor, and this 
officer being engaged elsewhere a portion of the time, this duty fell 
upon Phil S. Swing, his efficient deputy, and his successor, who did 
most effective service in this capacity. There being no precedents to 
guide him among the unique conditions then prevailing, he had to take 
the initiative in many cases. He came into the Valley in October, 1907, 
and has held many positions of trust since then. 

Visitors here will note the cosmopolitan character of the residents in 
this Valley, and this has been an important factor in its rapid develop- 
ment. Many nations and callings are represented, including men from 
foreign lands who were skilled in horticulture, arboriculture, and fruit 
growing. Grape growing has received much attention and the conditions 
of the soil and climate are found well suited to vineyards. France 
seems to have contributed materially to the region in this way. 

Mr. A. Caillard, an experienced fruit grower in semi-arid sections, 
has labored most successfully in grape culture here. After considerable 
study he finally located upon an 86-acre plot not far from Holtville, 
and planted grapes in an experimental way on a part of his ground, re- 
serving some of the land for barley and alfalfa, thus tiding over the 
season until his vineyard became fully productive, adding dairy fea- 
tures in the interim. But he soon found that the grape was fully at home 
here and even more productive than he expected, and now he has de- 
voted the entire plot to vineyard purposes. 

Many more of these Valley pioneers who began business here at an 


early period of its development might well be mentioned were it not 
for the fact that the biographical part of this work will doubtless in- 
clude detailed accounts of their life and work. 

Among those early in the mercantile line was W. D. Conser, of Im- 
perial, now of Colton, who came from Arizona in 1903, bringing with 
him a stock of goods worth perhaps $2500. A great believer in the use 
of printing ink and sound business principles with fair and honest 
dealing, he soon built up a large trade in the small quarters of his store. 

Regarding the most successful vocations in this Valley it is natural 
to suppose that the experienced farmer coming from the East would be 
most successful here as a farmer. And yet such has not been the rule. 
The old standard methods that prevail in the East are not adapted to 
secure the best results here without considerable modification. This has 
been somewhat difficult for the Eastern farmer to understand. Because 
of this he has often failed while any other man who didn't know it all, 
and was willing to listen to advice, would succeed. In some cases, how- 
ever, theorists from agricultural colleges, with some practical training, 
have been quick to catch on in these Valley methods and succeeded. 

It is a pleasure to record the success of Mr. E. H. Erickson in Braw- 
ley in fruit growing. Seeing no reason why all kinds of fruit should not 
thrive here, he planted in great variety with abundant faith. And al- 
ready his orchards prove even more productive than he had hoped, and 
they are visited by people with great interest. But in addition to being 
an experienced horticulturist he is also in love with the pursuit. 

Not every man who comes here, however, finds a smooth road to suc- 
cess in any calling. There are notable exceptions, and Mr. C. H. Wal- 
ton is one of these. Coming here in 1901 as a skilled farmer and hard 
worker, things seemed to go wrong with him from the first and he had 
a hard row to hoe for nine years. For a time he worked on the irri- 
gation ditches, and happened to select a poor piece of land in an un- 
favorable section. Then he changed his ranch and leased a site near El 
Centro. But he no sooner got things nicely started there when the mad 
old river drenched him out, and he was forced to sell out to save him- 
self. But his courage did not fail him even then. He bought more land 
adjoining his first ranch and resolved to begin anew. But the end of his 
troubles was not yet. Some designing men sought to attack his title to 
the land and a contest was filed. But despite all these things this man's 


courage proved indomitable. He held on and now has his place well 
stocked with hogs and many horses. 

Among the practical modern stock-men is W. L. Manahan, who was 
a regular cow-puncher early in life, and is yet for that matter, riding 
with his men, branding, etc. He came from New Mexico in 1903. His 
place is now devoted to alfalfa and barley, and he has some 2000 hogs 
among his stock. Being experienced not only in breeding, he also knew 
the business end of buying and selling. 

The growth of cotton is on the increase all through the Valley owing 
to the present high price of that staple. Mr. R. M. Fuller has 130 acres 
that produce large yields of cotton. This ranch is three miles from El 

Nels Jacobson is among the very successful and prosperous stock- 
breeders in the Valley, owning a fine 720-acre ranch in the Mesquite 
Lake country. Horses and hogs are his specialties, although he came 
here from a 14-acre orange grove in the Highlands. 

Francis Heiney of Brawley is one of the most skilled and practical 
fruit men in the Valley, having studied the matter in different countries. 
His ranch contains a great variety of choice fruits not found else- 
where, and all seem to thrive well under his careful management. He 
has served the county as agricultural commissioner and had a similar 
position in San Diego County. Scientific men from different sections 
visit the scene of his operations with peculiar interest. 

The ranch of D. G. Whiting, near El Centro, is another very attrac- 
tive spot, with its fine trees and permanent character of the buildings. 
He brought here the first fine Jersey herd in the entire Valley, having 
spent much time and money in improving the strain. His dairy interests 
were also large and important under the improved methods introduced 
by him. He later turned his attention more particularly to other lines. 

The healthful conditions prevailing in the Valley have already been 
referred to, and there are increasing evidences coming in frequently. 
Mr. Edwin Mead found it salutary and also regained his fortune along 
with his health. Coming in 1901 without any capital to speak of, he se- 
lected 320 acres five miles from Holtville and worked for the water 
company to pay for it. Some 200 hogs, a herd of beef cattle and a good 
stock of horses and poultry are now feeding upon his alfalfa pasturage. 
In the early days of Imperial, Mrs. Mead was a very popular hostess at 


the hotel, and she became known far and wide for her genial hospital- 
ity. They now own property amounting to $50,000. 

A model ranch owned by a Los Angeles stock syndicate contains 
1 100 acres of highly cultivated ranch land and some 876,000 acres 
across the Mexican line. More stock is produced there than on any other 
ranch in Southern California. This Mexican land is found to be mar- 
velously productive. One single arid field of barley has 5000 acres, and 
another of like area is devoted to alfalfa. Walter Bowker is the man- 
ager of this vast tract. 

The first artesian well in the Valley is credited to Henry Stroven. 
He found excellent water at 900 feet near Holtville and later, at a 
depth of 800 feet, where the flow was 100 gallons per minute. The cost 
was $1100, and considered cheap at that for the results obtained. Mr. 
Stroven is also an enthusiastic fruit man and has very productive or- 

Joseph Hanson is a prosperous rancher near Imperial, coming here 
from Alberta, Canada, in 19O2, and securing about 320 acres of land, 
which is largely devoted to forage crops for hogs, of which he has 
about 500 head. With him came John Larsen, who settled upon 160 
acres of land, upon which he raised barley and hay and was content to 
await developments. 


It would indeed be very difficult to find a more vital factor in the de- 
velopment and progress of any country anywhere on the face of the 
earth than good roads. And yet it is only within comparatively recent 
years that this great republic of ours gave any public recognition of 
this fact. We could talk and write glibly of the famous ancient Roman 
roads that were built in the most permanent and enduring manner, 
which challenged universal admiration the world over. But here in this 
new country, under this broader and more modern civilization, we were 
content to leave our public highways in the most deplorable condition, 
allowing Dame Nature to have full sway. This, of course, made the 
roads practically impassable at certain seasons of the year unless the 
track chanced to be over a rocky foundation and impervious to water. 
The matter of any systematic road improvement was utterly ignored. 


and such temporary repairs as were made at odd intervals when the 
farmers had nothing else to do were hopelessly ineffective because of 
the faulty methods employed and the slipshod manner in which they 
were carried out. Even when the matter began to receive some little 
attention, as the result of certain laws requiring some annual repairs on 
the public roads in certain States, the system used in complying with 
these provisions was of the most defective and pernicious character, 
often doing more harm than good. The history of road working in those 
days would now seem almost incredible and incomprehensive in the 
light of the present absorbing interest that is now shown in the con- 
struction and repair of all public highways throughout the country. 

All this must be credited, first to the advent of the bicycle, and next 
to the auto cars. If these various inventions and devices had done 
nothing else for the people their value would have been inestimable. 
Here in this state of California and throughout the West, perhaps, 
modern road improvement began in advance of many of the older 
states in the East, that were slow to realize the importance of the mat- 
ter as affecting every economic interest which could be named, being 
loath to incur the needed expense. Here in this reclaimed valley some 
attention has been given to the public roads. And yet it is entirely safe 
to say, though without definite information on the subject however, 
that there is still much need of more permanent road construction and 
more effective repairs all through the Valley. The natural conditions 
in most sections of this new county are such that the maintenance of 
roads, if properly constructed, should be easy and comparatively inex- 
pensive, there being very slight rainfall and no frost. And yet it is 
a question whether it is not wise to build more permanently than trust 
to the ordinary dirt roadway, where the traffic is at all heavy. Some 
variety of concrete or bituminous materials seems in every way desir- 
able in such cases. And yet it is claimed here that eighty per cent of 
the taxable property of this new county is owned by non-residents, who 
really pay inadequate taxes, which leaves an unjust share of this cost 
of road improvement upon resident owners and tenants. But there must 
be some way to remedy this evil, and the county officials will doubtless 
find it. In any event there should be nothing in the way of better roads 
in this favored land, where the control of water is so completely in the 
hands of the people. For, after all, the vital point in all road repairs is 


to keep off the water. Having good drainage and a hard surface, the 
battle is won. 

The completion of the new State concrete highway from El Centro 
to the mountain range which fringes the western edge of the Valley, 
last summer, was a most desirable improvement. This is a sixteen-foot 
pavement thirty-eight miles long, and includes a single span reinforced 
concrete bridge across Meyer's Canon that cost $40,000. In order to 
complete this main roadway system it is now proposed to extend it from 
Niland to Calexico, and from El Centro to Holtville. For this purpose 
a bond issue of $225,000 is asked for. The Imperial County Supervisors 
have promised to raise $161,000 as their share of the expense in con- 
necting the Valley with Los Angeles by a paved highway, south of the 
Salton Sea, from Brawley to Coachella Valley and Banning. This will 
be a valuable link in the road system of Southern California, and afford 
easy access to the great market place of Los Angeles. It will thus appear 
that the new county proposes to keep abreast of the times in the work 
of road improvement. 


It is pleasant to record the rapid increase of the white-blossoming acre- 
age of cotton during the last few years. Grown at first in an experi- 
mental way, it has now become one of the leading crops in the Valley. 
Statistics show that there were some 138,000 acres devoted to this im- 
portant staple last year. The yield is placed at 7000 bales of cotton and 
42,000 tons of cotton seed, exclusive of production in Mexico. This 
brought an average of thirty cents a pound for the cotton in the mar- 
kets and $55 per ton for the seed. Thus the local growers in this largest 
irrigated area in the West received nearly $11,000,000 for their cotton 
crop alone last year. These enthusiastic cottonmen now propose to 
devote 150,000 acres to the growth of this great crop the coming year, 
and incidentally making this Valley the greatest cotton-producing re- 
gion in the world. This surely is a proud record for an industry that 
began here only about nine years ago. 

In its report of cotton production last year the government Depart- 
ment of Agriculture gave the palm to Imperial Valley as leading all 
other sections in the average yield per acre, it being somewhat over 400 
pounds. This was due in part to the absence of all cotton insect pests, 


the irrigation system, continuous sunlight and deep, fertile soil. Nearly 
one-half of this Valley crop is now grown in Lower California, there 
being some 65,000 acres in cotton in that region. Not a single specimen 
of either the boll-weevil or pink boll-worm, which causes so much dam- 
age and loss in other cotton-growing sections, has yet been found in 
this Valley, where every precaution is being taken to prevent their 

The superior quality of this Imperial cotton has attracted the atten- 
tion of experts all over the country because of its fine fiber and clean- 
liness. Three varieties are grown here — the short staple, the Durango 
medium long staple and the Egyptian cotton. The latter, known as the 
Pima Egyptian, is being tried during the present year upon 5000 acres 
of land, with good results, the fiber selling for seventy-two cents per 
pound last fall. Several special gins for this fine fiber are being erected 
at Imperial, Seeley and elsewhere ; and the farmers expect a return 
from this variety of $150 an acre or more. The total cost of production 
is estimated at $100 per acre, the average yield being about one bale of 
500 pounds, which is worth, at present prices, about $360 and the seed 
about $40. The cost of producing a bale of the short staple cotton being 
about $55, leaves a net return of $75 under favorable conditions. It is, 
therefore, apparent that the cotton mill will soon be one of the leading 
features in the Valley. There are three cottonseed-oil mills in operation 
in the Valley, where the seed is crushed and the oil extracted. 

The "upland" cotton, grown so universally in the south Atlantic 
states, covers a large portion of this Valley acreage, and it has a longer 
fiber as grown here, bringing about twenty-four cents for the short 

There are now in this Valley 22 cotton gins, three oil mills and two 
compressors, representing an investment of over one million dollars. 
Calexico, the border city of the Valley, is the great cotton center, 
which really contains the whole story of the growth and prosperity of 
that city. It now has nine gins and two oil mills, and with its half- 
million acres of irrigable land close at hand in Mexico, it seems des- 
tined to rapid and marvelous expansion. Even now some enthusiastic 
cottonmen in this great cotton center are predicting that the crop of 
1918 on the Mexican lands in this Valley will approximate sixty thou- 
sand bales. 


This subject may not be worth an entire chapter, perhaps, but it will 
not be inappropriate to group other crops of a kindred nature with 
this record. 

It has often been said that California's prosperity began with the 
"gold craze" of 1849, which is probably true in a general sense. But 
there was another important event in her early history that came a few 
years later without any blare of trumpets whatever, creating no stam- 
pedes or rushes, built no mushroom cities, nor made men rich in a 
single night. This was the introduction of the alfalfa plant into the 
State, which has made thousands of men rich, whole counties prosper- 
ous, and converted barren land into fertile acres, which are better and 
more enduring than gold mines. From its modest advent into the vast 
list of forage crops in the early fifties it has been steadily growing in 
favor until today, when it must be credited first place among them all. 
It is estimated that there are now some 750,000 acres devoted to alfalfa 
in the State of California alone. It has thus changed the map of that 
state not only, but also of other states and territories. Broad vistas of 
purplish green fields are everywhere seen waving amid cloudlet shad- 
ows in the sunlit breeze. Brown and worn-out fields of wheat and 
barley have been converted into these more productive acres, and thou- 
sands of men with modern machinery are busily engaged in gathering 
the crop several times each season. It has even been estimated that this 
alfalfa crop is valued as one-and-half times greater than the entire out- 
put of gold in California. The cured hay is shipped in bales all over 
the world, and it goes through the canal to the eastern states. Before 
the present war it was ground into meal and sent to every spot where 
there was a cow or horse to be fed. Our allies in foreign lands are now 
feeding their cavalry horses on a secret ration composed of alfalfa- 
meal bricks ground with other nutritious ingredients. Dairymen find 
that it makes rich milk, fine cream and butter, which in this era of 
high prices turns into a fortune with proper management. It is fed 
green to dairy cattle, or the stock is turned loose into the waving fields 
to browse at will. The plant seems to adapt itself to most any climate 
with mosture and deep soil, though not so well in a wet, clay soil. Irri- 
gation is not absolutely necessary, as it is grown successfully in this 


and other states in the east without it. The Turkestan species, especial- 
ly, is found to resist seasons of drouth. The plant grew in northern 
Africa and Asia Minor centuries ago. And even in the frozen soil of 
Russia its hardy roots penetrate to a considerable depth. 

There are now many varieties of this alfalfa plant, of which a western 
experiment station is trying a list of ioo. As to its precise origin and 
the date little seems to be definitely known. It is believed to be the 
deepest-rooted plant in the vegetable kingdom, which accounts for its 
extreme hardiness and great vigor. These roots often extend many feet 
below the surface of the soil, thus bringing up valuable plant food, and 
hence it is that from four to six crops are gathered in a single season. 

A peculiar feature of this plant is that attached to its roots are vast 
masses of nodules, formed by the working of a certain friendly nitro- 
gen-producing microbe, without which it cannot grow, as the plant 
will not thrive in a virgin field. Either the seed or the soil must be in- 
oculated. Despite its vigor of growth, however, it must be handled with 
more care than the coarser forage plants or much of its food value is 
lost. In curing for hay it must be cut at the right time and handled 
very little in order to secure bright green hay. 

The Soudan grass is a new forage plant which is found well adapted 
for silage purposes, that was introduced last year. It is a native of 
Africa and yields from ten to fifteen tons per acre, being an annual 
plant which can be cut from three to four times each season. It is 
usually planted late in August upon old barley land or after the canta- 
loupe crop has been gathered. The yield is similar to that of alfalfa, 
producing a vast amount of forage in a short time where another crop 
must be seeded the same year. 

Milo maize is among the chief grain crops in the Valley, and it 
showed an increased yield per acre last year. It is fed to hogs, cattle, 
sheep and poultry, and the price for this grain was much greater last 
year than ever before. In response to the call of the nation for greater 
production, the irrigation area of Imperial County in 1917 produced 
fodder, fiber and foodstuffs to the value of $32,000,000, which entitles 
it to second place among the counties of the United States in agricul- 
tural endeavor. More than 45,000 acres of new land were prepared 
and seeded last year, increasing the irrigated acreage on both sides of 
the line to 408,000. Of this some 80,000 acres are devoted to milo maize 



and 60,000 to barley. Most of these products are used at home, the 
farmers being convinced that a pound of forage put into cattle on the 
ranch is worth almost as much as two pounds shipped away. The acre- 
age of wheat will be materially increased this year by the planting of 
5000 acres, as it has been found that wheat will bear as well as barley 
and bring better prices in the market, especially under the present war 
conditions and the great scarcity of this valuable grain for human 

The increase of silos of late throughout this region, which are now 
said to number over forty, has led to a much larger production of for- 
age crops adapted to this purpose, such as sweet sorghum, which often 
yields 38 tons of silage per acre. This silage is a desirable feed in the 
production of all dairy products. 


Sixteen years of experimentation by individuals have taught many 
lessons, positive and negative, regarding horticultural possibilities. E. 
F. Howe, who has been writing of the Valley from its beginning long 
ago, said that the Mediterranean Sea lies between the Valley and the 
coastal plain. This is Egypt and that is Italy, he declared, and develop- 
ments seem to have justified his prediction. The orange and lemon 
trees do not thrive and do not produce satisfactorily. The grapefruit 
trees do a little better, but are short-lived, though their product is 
superb. This is the only citrus fruit that thrives. 

In the adeciduous class of fruits the olive has made a splendid show- 
ing, though plantings are light. 

In deciduous fruits figs and pears have shown ability to resist cli- 
matic and soil conditions and to bear finely. The apricot is a good pro- 
ducer of very early fruit, but the trees are sensitive to the effects of 
irrigation and must be guardedly handled, many trees being lost. 

Vinous fruits, including Persian and Spanish varieties of grapes, 
produce largely and in some seasons bring big returns for table use. 
The climate is not adapted to raisin-making. Varieties of strawberries 
lately introduced have become big producers and money-makers. 

Berries have not thus far made a good record. 

It probably is in the palmaceous fruits that the big future lies, es- 
pecially with the date. Importations from Arabia and Morocco of the 



choicest varieties have started the industry, but the great war has 
delayed further importations, and propagation proceeds slowly. It will 
probably be a number of years before the production is standardized, 
but in the end will come an industry of giant proportions. 

The cantaloupe melon is probably one of the most profitable crops 
grown in the Valley, and the acreage is being rapidly increased. There 
are now over 8000 acres producing these luscious melons every year, 
which exceeds the Georgia product by over 2000 acres. The fruit ripens 
earlier here than in any other region of the United States, and the qual- 
ity is superior. There were 12,800 acres devoted to this melon in the 
Valley last year, and the crop went to every corner of the country. 
Under the California State law none but those of the best quality could 
be sent out ; nothing of an inferior character could be shipped. On a 
single day in June there were six trainloads of these melons that left 
Brawley, the great cantaloupe center of the county. Ninety million 
melons was the estimated product of the Valley last year. In the culture 
of this fruit systematic and careful selection of seed is the first requi- 
site. From the famous "Rocky Ford" strain a new variety has been 
developed that is regarded of superior quality not only but of greater 
vigor and productiveness, being also less liable to fungus attacks. It 
also has better carrying qualities. Some of these melon experts here 
claim that a cantaloupe should be picked just before it is entirely ripe, 
not only to secure its arrival in the distant market in the best condi- 
tion, but also to insure its perfect flavor. They say that many are picked 
too green, however, in order to reach the early market ahead of other 
sections, which practice is bitterly denounced by the best growers, who 
are jealous of their reputation, and has resulted in much damage to 
the industry, because one such carload often ruins the entire shipment. 
And yet the fact is that the melon output of this Valley is among its 
most important annual assets. The season of ripening begins late in May 
and extends until the middle of July. 


Among the important and profitable interests in the Valley today is 
that of the dairy. This is closely allied with the vast forage production 
for which it has become famous in past years. Two years ago a former 
chief of the dairy division of the United States Department of Agri- 


culture predicted that the State of California was destined to become 
the greatest dairy state in the Union because of the low cost of butter- 
fat production. And he asserted further that the Imperial Valley pre- 
sented the greatest possibility of profit of any section of the state, 
having every opportunity to excel as a money-maker in this business. 
Even at this time, of the 58 counties this Imperial County supplies half 
of the butter consumed in Los Angeles, and produces one-tenth of the 
total butter product of the state. And yet the record would seem to 
show that this has been done with low-bred cows and a low grade of 
efficiency, due to improper methods, both of which could easily have 
been remedied, and have been since to some extent. Farmers have 
learned that improved methods and more sanitary care brings better 
prices and larger profits. To this end they have been weeding out their 
herds, excluding the "boarders" and retaining the best milk producers. 
They are also securing some thoroughbred stock and selecting cows 
having the best butter records. Careful tests are being made of the 
individual members of the herd regarding their producing capacity and 
general efficiency. Greater attention is also being given to cleanliness 
in all the various operations of milking and handling the cream and 
butter, realizing that such sanitary conditions are absolutely necessary 
to the production of good butter from the time the milk leaves the cow 
until the golden product is packed for market. No department of farm 
work requires quite so much care to every detail as the dairy. And no 
other offers so much chance for careless and unclean methods. Cream 
and dirt make a filthy combination of the good and bad that is intol- 
erable, not to speak of the danger which may lurk in bacteria. The 
creamery man cannot entirely eliminate the contaminating ingredients 
which may have found their way into the cream. Clean utensils is an- 
other all-important item. 

State Inspector Nye, who visited this region, gave some very good 
advice along these lines which have been heeded to some extent. Be- 
sides emphasizing all these sanitary features, he says cream that is 
quickly cooled keeps sweet much longer than when the process is grad- 
ual. The cream should be kept at a low temperature until ready for the 
separator. This, of course, is a matter that requires careful manage- 
ment in this climate, where it is necessary to use ice. Clean cream, cold 
cream and rich cream are the important factors. With proper attention 



to all these details it is claimed that butter-fat can be produced cheaper 
in this Valley than anywhere else. There is little need of barns in this 
rainless region, unless it be for shelter from the sun at times. And the 
season lasts for twelve months, with an ample supply of green fodder 
continually, which usually consists of barley and alfalfa mixed. Of 
late, however, this ration has been varied with silage in some instances 
on the theory that a contented cow will eat more and give better and 
richer milk. Some claim that with proper management it is possible in 
this Valley to keep two cows per acre, especially if silage is used. Un- 
der ordinary conditions, even without silage, they are not keeping one 
cow per acre. One progressive farmer near El Centro is keeping 35 
cows on 20 acres without silage. 

In 1916 some 8,000,000 pounds of butter were shipped from this 
Valley, which brought $2,500,000 in the markets. The average yearly 
product here has been estimated at over seven million pounds. This 
daiiy industry is conducted largely by men who came into this Valley 
with very limited capital. A man with $300 in cash, who can pay a 
month's rent on 40 acres of land, usually makes a handsome surplus in 
a short time. It is said that the average Valley cow will produce four- 
fifths of a pound of butter every day, which at present prices nets 
forty-one cents, or $12.30 a month. This she will do for nine months in 
the year, making her value for butter alone $110.70. Then the skimmed 
milk is worth $36 per year, and the calf ought to bring about $25. This 
brings the cow's total yearly product to $181.70. 


In this epoch of disturbed civilization and national conflicts, when 
the food supply of the world for man and beast has become scanty and 
apparently inadequate, as we have been led to believe, the domestic hen 
becomes a vital factor to some degree in the economic branch of human 
existence. This docile and industrious mistress of the barnyard has 
suddenly been elevated to a degree of aristocratic importance unknown 
to her before. And yet these facts do not seem to appeal to her animal 
instincts to any perceptible degree. Her henship seems to pursue the 
even tenor of her quiet life in the usual manner, as though saying: "I 
am attending to my accustomed duties at the nest in the usual way; 
what more do you want?" Meanwhile the products of this creature are 


soaring in price with the speed of an aviator, and the people are calmly 
doing without omelettes, broiled chicken and other delicacies originat- 
ing in the poultry yard. 

And yet this Imperial Valley is doing its share to alleviate matters 
in the emergency, in spite of the high price of feed required in the hen 
family. The poultry industry has grown materially here the last few 
years as the profits have become greater. It is, in fact, one of the quick- 
est and surest means by which a man of small capital can earn a good 
living. The mild climate, without frost or snow, favors at least two 
broods of chicks each year. The abundance of succulent green fodder 
every day in the year, and the fine local market for eggs and young 
poultry, all these strongly favor the business in this region. With the 
improved methods now in use the careful breeder now figures upon a 
net profit of over one dollar per hen each year. During the past fifteen 
years various plans have been tried in the housing and management of 
the yards, and the size of separate pens, with the result that now, in 
most cases, open sheds built perfectly tight at sides and rear, with 
partitions every ten feet, having an open wire netting front, with roosts 
against the rear wall, is the most approved plan. The floors are either 
of wood, cement or dirt. The average cost of housing 500 hens is found 
to be from $250 to $375. 

While fanciers and owners keep a variety of breeds, the White Leg- 
horn strain is used almost universally for the best business results. 
And yet few of these are pure-bred stock, the effort having been to 
increase the size of both bird and egg. The hatching of eggs is mostly 
done by large plants devoted to that branch of the business, having 
capacities from 70,000 to 120,000 eggs at a setting. When a day old 
the chicks are delivered to the brooder. The male birds are sorted out 
and fattened for market. The feed "mash" contains many ingredients 
ground together. In the summer and fall alfalfa and Soudan grass are 
also used. The theory is that a hen well supplied with nitrogenous food 
should lay eggs. In some of the hen-houses a powerful nitrogenous 
lamp is placed at every roost, with an alarm clock attachment, which is 
set to switch on the light at 3 a. m. Then her henship is expected to get 
busy, eat her breakfast and jump on the nest. While this may seem 
theoretical and imaginary to many, it is claimed here that the gain in 
e gg production from a goodly flock of hens at the winter season, when 


eggs are high, is about twenty per cent under this early light scheme. 
In this way one thousand well-bred hens, carefully managed and prop- 
erly fed, is said to insure the owner a return of at least $3000 a year. 
The Valley has also acquired a reputation for fine turkeys, which 
have become famous throughout the West. The absence of cold rains 
and wet weather, among the greatest evils in turkey-raising, greatly 
favors the business. And it is now claimed that some 40,000 turkeys are 
shipped out of the Valley every year. 


While something has already been said, in an earlier chapter of this 
work, concerning the pioneer women of this reclaimed desert, there is 
very much more that might and should be said, even in this general 

They were not what the world calls "society women" who came here 
with their husbands, or somebody else's husband, or sweetheart, in 
quest of new fields for display or adventure. Nor did they include 
maidens, young or old, or even attractive widows in search of new 
conquests in the field of matrimony. No, there's no record of any of 
these classes having ventured into this desolation during its early de- 
velopment. And if they came in later their arrival caused no ripple that 
was not engulfed in the more substantial social affairs that have been 
created and fostered by other women of a different class. Most of these 
are country born and bred, with an ancestry of sturdy farmers of which 
they have been proud to boast. They were strangers to "pink teas, 
tangoes and bridge parties" ; simply plain women with big, noble souls, 
ready for any honorable and worthy task that was set before them. 
They came to this undeveloped Valley with the full purpose of doing 
their share in its reclamation and conversion into a region of prosper- 
ous farmers and happy homes. And they knew what was involved in 
that bold proposition. But they were women of undaunted courage and 
persistence. This was due not alone to their nature but also to their 
country breeding and training on the farm, the best place in the world 
for any woman to be born and reared. And yet after a time they real- 
ized that some form of social life even there was in every way desir- 
able. The ascetic life is unreal and unsatisfying to the average human 
being. There must be contact or association with others to bring out 



the best there is in any individual. Nor is it necessary to flock to the 
cities and villages in order to secure these opportunities, despite the 
erroneous impression to that effect which prevails. There is ample 
chance for these advantages in rural sections like this great Valley if 
the women themselves are so inclined. And this has been the history of 
this region from the beginning of its settlement. There has been a spirit 
of symapthetic hospitality among these noble women, and a unity of 
purpose that has animated so-called society circles. City friends visit 
here with real enjoyment and pleasure. 

Numerous social clubs and associations of various kinds have been 
organized in different parts of the Valley, and their meetings have often 
been held in the school and church buildings. But there is no purpose 
here to speak in detail, nor even to mention the names of the leading 
women promoters of these organizations. The mere fact of their exist- 
ence shows that the uncouth features so often attributed to the life of 
rural communities do not exist here. The salutary influence of these 
associations extends to the home life and the field industries as well as 
in the public life. 

The girl who learned to perform the duties of a farmer's wife work- 
ing at her mother's side on the farm, finding pleasure in that duty, is 
the ideal wife for a practical farmer every time. And this wholesome 
fact is fully confirmed right here m numerous instances. The strife and 
turmoil of a populous city is gloriously avoided in this joyous cadence 
of Nature, who always lives next door. 

"Don't ever sell the old farm ; it is the dearest place in all the world," 
writes a college lad to his mother at home. And even now in these days 
there is a distinct trend back to the farm all over the country with 
young and old. Social gatherings, concerts, lectures and other forms 
of community interest are growing in favor among these busy and 
prosperous people. 

The progressive element in Calexico has in some respects led in these 
organized social features. The Women's Improvement Club, which was 
formed in 1908, has been instrumental in that vicinity, establishing a 
reading-room and public library. There is also a City Park Commission, 
which has charge of the public and school grounds. And the new Dorcas 
Society has many practical features of dispensing charity. Then for the 
past three years the mothers and teachers of the public schools have 


banded together in a Parent-Teachers' Association, which discusses 
questions pertaining to child welfare in general. 


And this leads directly to some mention of the children who inhabit 
this Valley. What about these men and women of the future, who are 
here training for the duties and activities which the coming years will 
bring? How are they being fitted for the wondrous achievement for 
which their parents don't yet even dream nor form any conception? 
The work of development and progress here is sure to go on. The 
momentum of the past must impel the work of the future and lead to 
still greater efforts and grander results than those which are being 
recorded here. Their greater facilities for education must lead to a 
broader outlook upon the affairs of life, and their training and experi- 
ence in this Valley will open their eyes to new possibilities in this 
favored region as they grow older, many of which cannot be foreseen 
yet by those in the arena of endeavor at the present day. Are these 
children being properly fitted to carry on the work which their pioneer 
parents have marked out for them here? Surely their tasks must prove 
easier than fell to the lot of their fathers and mothers. And yet it may 
call for some qualifications of a different character, as new conditions 

The schools of the Valley are progressive and well conducted. The 
teachers have been selected for their educational fitness not only, but 
with some regard as to their native equipment and tact for the control 
of the young minds committed to their charge, no two of them alike. 
The requisite qualifications for a successful teacher of any child are 
manifold and of vast importance, not always fully realized by district 
officials. The old notion that most any young lady with a fair school 
education, who wanted some easy position where she could earn a 
decent living in a dignified way, was fitted for a school teacher has 
been fraught with danger in the past, and has now been almost entirely 

But there is a joyous bunch of youngsters here who seem to enjoy 
life in full measure. They have heard the story of reclamation, with its 
hardships endured by their parents in the earlier years. Some of these 
children never saw any snow and don't understand what it is. Nor could 


they enjoy coasting down an icy hill, as they live on a level plain; nor 
any skating, for there is never any ice here, nor even anything to make 
snowballs of. But any observant visitor to these school grounds will 
find no lack of active sports on the baseball plot or the links, where the 
merry music of juvenile laughter rings out upon the balmy air. And 
their evenings at home when the day's work is done are spent in music 
and indoor games, discussion of current events or jolly converse. The 
absence of saloons and other contaminating features so prevalent in 
other communities greatly lessens the temptation to evil and wrong- 
doing. Thus it is very obvious that this Valley presents an ideal atmos- 
phere for youthful life to a degree not often found in other regions. 
And it is pleasant to record also the fact that the civil governments in 
the cities and towns of this new county seem to be in full harmony with 
the best interests of the young. A remarkable feature of the region is 
that in this community of 50,000 people no native of the county has yet, 
in 1918, reached the age of graduation from the high school. 


And now, after all that has been said concerning the general features 
of this newest county in the State of California, what is the conclusion 
of the reader? Undeveloped even yet? Yes, there will be no dispute 
about that; the fact is freely admitted, even by the most enthusiastic 
dweller in the Valley. But this man will ask you to consider what has 
been done in the few years that have intervened between the great 
desert waste and the fertile garden of today. He is optimistic about 
this, and he has a right to boast over it and throw up his hat. But the 
work of complete reclamation has only been begun. But there is a 
momentous energy of purpose that gathers force as the work proceeds. 
New possibilities are discovered every day, and new ways to develop 
them are continually suggesting themselves. 

The control of the great Colorado River is now more complete per- 
haps than ever before. And yet this will always remain the paramount 
problem here upon which all other features must depend. The construc- 
tion of a series of huge reservoirs is now under contemplation, and 
Congress will be asked to call a convention of all parties interested in 
the near future. Some six or seven of these great reservoirs are pro- 
posed at a total cost of $15,000,000 per acre- foot, one of these alone to 


impound 8,000,000 acre-feet of water, or three times as large as any 
other reservoir in the United States. The estimated cost of these vast 
storage basins is $50,000,000. From four to five million acres of rich 
land, now barren, or only partially productive, could thus be irrigated. 

And it is significant to state that of this estimated cost it is claimed 
that the land now under cultivation in this Imperial Valley alone pro- 
duced this year enough to defray the entire cost of this reservoir sys- 
tem. This plan would also make possible a vast power development 
west of the Rocky Mountains. And it is further urged that this vast 
storage of water would be sufficient to irrigate all the irrigable land be- 
low the Grand Canon in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, 
California and New Mexico, leaving a vast surplus for Mexico. 

Whether or not this great project will be carried out remains to be 
seen, of course. The full control and conservation of this Colorado wa- 
ter is regarded as second only in importance to the Panama Canal. If the 
plan now under consideration goes through it will take at least from 
eight to ten years for its consummation, according to the government 
engineers. But unfortunately there is a vast deal of official red tape be- 
tween this and even the beginning of the work. The region of country 
drained by this wonderful river and its tributaries is about 8000 miles 
long and from 300 to 500 miles wide, and it comprises 244,000 square 
miles. This river has been likened unto the Nile, and is often called the 
"Nile of America" because of the similar aspects presented. The cli- 
mate in each case is much the same, while similar deposits of fertilizing 
silt are brought down. 

But these features have already been referred to in some detail in 
previous chapters. And yet it should be said in this connection that this 
subject of reclamation of arid lands in the United States is beginning 
to attract more attention by reason of the prevailing food scarcity, 
which leads foreseeing men to cast about for some new source of sup- 
ply. Only a few days ago David Lubin, a California delegate to the In- 
ternational Institute of Agriculture, made the assertion that the recla- 
mation for cattle raising on the lands of the eleven arid states of the 
Union was the key to the food problem. And he proposed in his report 
to Congress that measures should be taken at once by the government to 
carry out the plan. Continuing, he said that the cattle of Europe were 
being rapidly eaten up, and the cattle supply of the world was diminish- 


ing under the unprecedented demand of the war for hides and meat. He 
did not propose this national reclamation scheme for the war merely, 
but for all time in the best interests of the nation. His proposition in- 
cludes the leading of small streams from the mountains over these arid 
lands, and also the boring of many artesian wells. 

Be this at it may, however, it has become very apparent that the nor- 
mal food supply of the nation has become inadequate, and every rea- 
sonable effort should be made to increase it. Not that we are obliged to 
feed the foreign nations which are now engaged in bitter conflict, but 
for our own protection and welfare as the population increases, both 
from natural cauees and the arrival of immigrants after the war. In 
any conservative aspect therefore that presents itself there seems great 
promise of a grand future for this Valley in the years to come. 

"Come and see!" is the invitation we extend in closing this article. 
And this invitation is re-echoed from every corner of this new coun- 
ty. The pioneer stage of development has passed, and the period of ag- 
gressive activity has arrived. Modern methods and facilities are every- 
where apparent, and there is a hearty welcome awaiting every new- 

"Come and see !" 


Long ago, before the memory of man, but comparatively recent from 
a geological standpoint, in what is known as the middle tertiary period, 
the waters of the Gulf of California reached up as far as the slopes of 
Mounts San Jacinto and San Bernardino, taking in all of the region now 
known as the Imperial Valley, Salton Basin and Coachella Valley, an 
area of over 3000 square miles ; the whole of the present delta into 
which emptied the erratic and unreliable Colorado River — the real 
heroine of the romance of the desert — for without the Colorado the 
waters of the sea would still bathe the foot of the mountains. 

Although deprived of a part of its glory by a misnaming of the upper 
branches, the Colorado is one of the long rivers of the world, being 
about 2000 miles in length, including the Green River, which unites 
with the Grand to form the Colorado, the Green being really a continu- 
ation of the Colorado itself. The river drains a region of about' 300,000 
square miles, the southwestern part of Wyoming, west Colorado, east 
Utah, Nevada and new and old Mexico. Most of the land is extremely 
dry, with an average rainfall of only 8J/2 inches, the river being sup- 
plied chiefly from the melting snow of the mountainous parts of Wy- 
oming, Utah and Colorado. 

The Colorado Valley is distinctly divided into two sections. The 
greater part of the lower third is but little above the level of the sea, 
some parts in fact being more than 200 feet below the sea level, but 
here and there occasional mountain ranges rise to a height of from 
2000 to 6000 feet. 

Its northern boundary is an almost vertical wall of cliffs, often thou- 
sands of feet high. The tableland which forms the rest of the valley is 
from four to eight thousand feet above the sea, and is surrounded on 
all sides but the south by snow-capped mountains, some of which are 
14,000 feet high. The whole upper part of the Colorado Basin is cut by 
innumerable gorges of inaccessible depths, caused by the river and its 


branches. They are dry, however, except during the rainy season and 
when the snow melts on the mountains. 

The erosion by the Colorado and its tributaries has played a leading 
part in making the geography of the country. All of the silt, broken and 
powdered rocks, vegetation and other rubbish eroded by a river is held 
in suspension while the river is moving rapidly ; it is only when it 
spreads out, becoming shallow and sluggish, that its burden is deposited 
along the banks and on the bottom. The Colorado reached no such point 
until it emptied into the Gulf of California, known at various times as 
the "Sea of Cortez," the "Sea of California" and the "Vermillion Sea," 
the latter name originating from the red color imparted by the sedi- 
ment-laden river, which has been called "The Nile of America." 

That the valley was originally an arm of the gulf is shown by the 
shell incrustations and reefs of oyster shells. That the level of the 
country was raised by volcanic uplifts as some contend seems to be dis- 
proved by the fact that the water lines are all unbroken and do not 
show any evidence of any convulsions of Nature. Hence the theory that 
the formation of the valley was caused by the silt of the Colorado 
spreading over the bottom of the gulf, thus displacing the water, seems 
the right one. Little by little the silt was deposited, and little by little 
the sea retreated, until what had been the sea became low marshy land, 
with the river meandering through banks of its own creating. But with 
the melting of the mountain snow the sluggish, sleepy river, basking 
lazily in the sun, became a veritable demon of savage irresponsibility, 
going wherever it would and leaving its burden. At such times it broke 
all bounds set by previous deposits. During one such flood such a vast 
amount of debris was deposited that an area in front of its mouth was 
covered by silt which rose higher than the normal height of the river, 
so that when the flood subsided a great dam was formed which shut off 
the northern portion of the gulf (now the Imperial, Salton and Coachel- 
la valleys). The channel connecting the two portions must have become 
more and more shallow until it filled up so that the tide no longer 
flowed in and out, thus forming a lake the southern boundaries of 
which were the silt and mud from the Colorado. 

Prof. Blake's theory, formed from his investigations when with the 
Williamson expedition, is that at first this lake was kept fresh by chan- 
nels from the river, but these filling up shut off the supply, and being 


shut away from the sea also, a rapid process of evaporation took place 
under the hot rays of the sun and the dry winds, and in the course of a 
few years the lake dried up. Wharton James on the contrary contends 
that as the shut-off portion of the gulf contained salt water, that it 
evaporated by natural processes, and was filled with fresh water by the 
overflow from the Colorado breaking over channel and dam and form- 
ing the ancient Alamo River through which part of the Colorado flowed 
into the basin and created a fresh-water lake, which it continued to 
supply as the years passed, keeping as a lake for a time what had been 
first an arm of the gulf, then a dry basin hundreds of feet below the 
sea level, then a lake, then dry land again, but how often this region al- 
ternated between being lake and dry land no one knows. 

It is assumed the Indians occupied the basin while dry, which will 
explain their tradition that after they had lived there many years they 
were driven out by the floods. This may have happened many times be- 
fore another flood epoch came and built a new dam across the Alamo 
channel, which closed the fresh water supply, and the Salton Sea again 
dried up until it was filled by accident in 1905 through a miscalculation 
of the Southern California Improvement Company's constructing en- 
gineer as to what might be expected of the Colorado River, giving the 
modern world the opportunity to see Nature at work. But while the cut 
made by the Southern California Improvement Company was responsi- 
ble for the divergence of the river primarily, scientists believe from the 
behavior of the river since that it would have happened from natural 
causes shortly, anyway. But what was of no particular moment in pre- 
historic times became a calamity when the basin was occupied by rail- 
roads, farms, orchards and homes. Hence at the present time all the in- 
genuity of man is being brought to bear upon the problem of curbing 
the riotous Colorado and making it return to its former channel. 

The land formed by the deposit from the river was exceedingly rich, 
but unfortunately, except for flood waters, extremely dry, the annual 
rainfall, as before stated, averaged only about % l / 2 inches, and it pre- 
sented all the aspects of a desert land. 

The Colorado Desert, which is the local name given by Prof. Blake in 
1853 to tnat portion of the great Sonorian Desert which lies between 
Parker, Arizona, and Picacho, California, a long, narrow strip of coun- 
try containing not less than 500,000 acres of alluvial soil, needing only 


water to make it fertile. The temperature registers as low as 17 degrees, 
and occasionally in summer as high as 125 degrees. In the cool of the 
morning the air is very stimulating and invigorating, but the heat of the 
afternoon is intense and exhausting. The rainy season is from Decem- 
ber to February, but sometimes there are showers in the heart of sum- 


The region around the Gulf of California and the Colorado Valley was 
visited by many of the earlier adventurers who in the interest of Spain 
were seeking places of colonization and conquest, and incidentally some 
of the vast wealth supposed to be possessed by the original owners of 
the soil. In 1539 Cortez sent an expedition, consisting of three vessels, 
up the waters of the gulf, which at that time was supposed to be a long 
strait leading to the North Sea, and Lower California was supposed to 
be an island. 

Ulloa was the leader of the expedition, and when he found his way 
barred by the deposits of a huge river, and alarmed by the rushing wa- 
ter of the "Bore," he returned without exploring it. In 1540 Alargon 
was sent up the Gulf by Mendoza, the Spanish Viceroy, to explore, and 
later joined the land expedition under Coronado, who started overland 
about the same time. They were looking for the seven cities of Cibola, 
which were believed to possess fabulous wealth. Marcos, a Franciscan 
monk, inspired by the tales he heard from the Indians about these cities, 
started to investigate, and sent Estaban, a negro, ahead to reconnoiter. 
The latter, however, was captured and killed at the first Pueblo village, 
and Marcos, in terror of his life, fled with only a distant glimpse of the 
coveted cities. This did not prevent his giving Coronado, then governor 
of New Gallicia, a glowing account of their beauty and vast wealth, 
drawing on a lively imagination for what he lacked in actual experience 
and knowledge. Coronado lost no time in taking Marcos to Mexico, 
where Mendoza organized the two expeditions to hunt up these wonder- 
ful towns and appropriate their possessions. 

AlarQon left his vessel at the mouth of the river and traveled upward 
for about sixteen miles. He discovered several harbors not seen by Ul- 
loa, and also discovered that the natives were ignorant of most of the 
names supposedly characteristic of the region, that Marcos had given, 


and it began to dawn upon him that the good father was a romancer of 
considerable skill and fluency. However, the natives themselves told 
marvelous tales of things to be seen inland, but no news of Coronado, so 
Alarcon returned to his vessel. A little later he again ascended the river 
about 85 leagues, according to his estimate, but probably much less 
when we consider the winding course of the river. He left letters for 
Diaz at the foot of a large cross, and Diaz, who came by land to the 
spot, claimed the distance to be about 15 leagues. Diaz and his men are 
supposed to be the first white men to walk on the Colorado Desert. 

After reading Alargon's letter, Diaz followed the course of the river 
for nearly a week, then crossed over on rafts, owing to the hostility of 
the natives, undoubtedly the Yumas, who even now consider the white 
man a trespasser. They consented to help Diaz cross the river, thinking 
this would give them an opportunity to separate the party and then de- 
stroy them. Diaz, however, was sufficiently alert to meet them on their 
own ground ; becoming suspicious, one of the Indians was subjected to 
torture until he admitted the plot. In the engagement which followed 
Diaz by his superior weapons was able to drive the Indians back into 
the mountains, but four days wandering in the desert was enough for 
him and he was glad to leave further exploration to others. 

In 1604 Juan de Onate went from San Juan de los Caballeros, a small 
town near the present location of Santa Fe, toward the west. He crossed 
New Mexico and left his autograph chiseled on a rock called El Moro. 
He went up the Colorado to tidewater and returned in April, 1605. He 
was the last known white man to visit the region until the missions 
were established. 

All the early maps represent California as an island, and the Gulf of 
Mexico as a strait extending nearly to 50 degrees north latitude, and 
Sir Francis Drake named it New Albion, supposing it to be an island 
separate from the Spanish New World ; this error was perpetuated in 
the English maps as late as 1721, although Father Kino and his asso- 
ciates show by his map of about 1700 that they understood California 
was a peninsula and that the Colorado River was responsible for the 
land formed at the head of the gulf. According to one historian, 
Father Consag, or Sontag, made the first survey of the gulf in 1746. 
He passed up the western side of the gulf in small boats and reached 
the mouth of the Colorado, the land around which, he said, was low 


and swampy, red in color, and so soft that his men could not stand on it. 
After the Franciscans had established five missions in Upper Cali- 
fornia, or "Alta California," as it was called to distinguish it from the 
Peninsula, it was found to be a long and tedious trip between them and 
the Sonora missions the way they had to go (i. e., by way of the gulf 
and up the Peninsula), and the missionaries of Northern Sonora 
made several attempts to reach them by crossing the Colorado River, 
particularly Francisco Garces and the Jesuit Father Kino, who were 
very persevering in their efforts, and Garces finally succeeded in cross- 
ing the river and penetrating the desert for some distance, but without 
any results worth mentioning. 

. At this time there were no white men in California except at the 
missions, and the whole region was one of desolation. The first Chris- 
tian to make the trip across the desert was Sebastian, an Indian who 
had run away from the San Gabriel mission with his parents and wife, 
and crossed over to the Presidio of Tubac, about forty miles south of 
what is now Tucson, Arizona. He had roamed far into the eastern part 
of the desert to avoid being captured by soldiers and returned as a 
deserter. His family all died either from hardships or were killed by 
hostile Indians. It is certain Sebastian crossed the desert to Yuma 
where he was taken by natives to the Pima and Papago country and 
there met Captain Juan Bautista de Anza, who was a very gallant 
officer, at that time commandant of the Presidio of Tubac, and who had 
long been anxious to have a part in the colonization of California. Bu- 
careli, the viceroy, was finally induced to give him a license to explore 
the country from Tubac to the California missions, and find a conveni- 
ent and practical route for travelers to and from the missions. He 
started in January, 1774, with Sebastian for guide and Padres Garces 
and Font as his spiritual guides, and an escort of 34 men, 140 horses 
and 65 cattle. Reaching the river, de Anza made friends with Palma, 
chief of the Yuma Indians, who went with him across the river and as 
far as a lagoon to the southwest, a body of water left by the last Colo- 
rado overflow. After Palma returned, De Anza wandered for six days 
in a region devoid of water and grass, and so desolate and barren that 
he returned to Palma for help. It is not known positively where he was 
during those six days, but if the lagoon to the southwest of Yuma was 
below the Mexican line there is reason to believe he was in what is now 


known as the Imperial Valley. Palma proved amenable to persuasion, 
and giving De Anza directions as to the proper path from one water 
hole to another, followed with the baggage, horses and cattle, and they 
thus had very little difficulty in making their way over the sand hills and 
into the Salton Basin, until they reached the San Gorgonio pass (which 
they called Puerto de San Carlo), over the Santa Ana River to San 
Gabriel. De Anza then went on to Monterey and sent Padre Garces 
back to the Colorado River to await his return. He stayed in Monterey 
three days and then returned, following Garces' trail. 

This journey of a thousand miles over untrod desert being successful, 
a second one was taken over the same route in 1775. This consisted of 
240 people and over a thousand horses, mules, sheep, etc., and they went 
from Tubac to San Francisco. They evidently experienced unusual 
weather, for De Anza's diary tells of continued storms of rain, hail and 
snow, accompanied by extremely low temperature. However, while 
many were sick, none died, although many were women ; and eight des- 
ert-born infants raised their number to 248. 

The route which these two expeditions covered was used for a num- 
ber of years. In 1780 Garces established two mission pueblos at Yuma, 
but Palma's influence was not enough to overcome the antagonism the 
Yumas always had for the traveler, and in June, 1781, Riviera, who had 
been governor of both Upper and Lower California, stopped at Yuma 
with a party of colonists he was taking to Los Angeles. He crossed the 
Colorado, and after sending his party on across the desert, camped on 
the east bank with twelve men. On Tuesday, July 17th, the Indians 
attacked the two Pueblos and Riviera and his soldiers and killed forty- 
six of them, including Riviera. The massacre was discovered by Ensign 
Limon, who had escorted the settlers to San Gabriel. He was on his 
way back with nine men, when some desert natives told him of the 
outbreak. He left two men in charge of his animals and went forward to 
investigate ; there the charred ruins of the buildings and the dead bodies 
lying about told their own story. While he was reconnoitering he was 
himself attacked, and he and eight men wounded. Starting to return to 
San Gabriel, he found the men he had left with the horses also killed. 
He with difficulty made his way back to San Gabriel with his bad news. 
In an attempt to punish the Yumas two forces were sent out at differ- 
ent times, one from Sonora and one from California, but as their efforts 


were but half-hearted, all they succeeded in doing was to further embit- 
ter the Yumas against the white man without particularly impressing 
them with his authority and power. As a result there was a practical 
abandonment of the new route, although it was occasionally used. 

In 1782 Don Pedro Fages made the first trip from the Colorado to 
San Diego. In 1783 an attempt was made to follow the same route, but 
the party only went as far as the mountains and returned. The route 
was too difficult and few ever used it until the United States army of 
the west under Kearny came through in 1847, after which it became 
the southern route for the gold seekers. 

The first English-speaking man to look upon the Colorado Desert was 
probably Lieutenant Hardy of the British Royal Navy, who led an 
expedition sent out' by England in 1800 hoping to find a river ascending 
from the Gulf of California far into the interior of the gre*at northwest 
navigable for a sufficient distance to make it a commercial highway into 
the interior. The river he discovered, however, was a narrow, shallow 
and sluggish stream, and with much difficulty he succeeded in passing 
the sand bars and low islands in the mouth, and finally entered a small 
lake. Not understanding the conditions he found, he landed and climbed 
a butte several hundred feet high which was washed by the waters of 
the lake to investigate. To the far north as far as the eye could reach 
stretched a barren and sun-blistered desert. The river of which he had 
expected such great things, was spread out over immense marshes. In 
his report he stated that the Colorado was not navigable. He manifestly 
was not in the channel which until 1906 was known as the Colorado 
River, but in one which ran from Volcano Lake to the gulf and which 
has since been known as Hardy's Colorado, or sometimes the Hardy 
River. Geographers have believed all these years that Hardy overlooked 
the entrance to the real Colorado, but since that erratic stream has 
deserted its bed, and is flowing across the marshes into Rio Paradones, 
thence into Volcano Lake and out to the gulf by way of the Hardy, they 
are inclined to believe it was doing the same at the time of Hardy's 
expedition, as he could hardly have helped seeing the channel it had 
occupied for years. 

In 1807 Johnathan Trumbull, a native of Connecticut, but known in 
California as Juan Jose Warner, took an expedition to Santa Fe, and 
soon after with Jackson, Waldo and Young, left for California. They 



crossed the Colorado below the Gila, and thence across the desert to San 
Diego via San Luis Rey. Warner engaged in various mercantile ven- 
tures in Los Angeles, and having become a naturalized Mexican citizen, 
was given a grant of land covering a ranch which still bears his name, 
to which he moved in 1844 with his family, remaining thirteen years, 
when they were driven off by an Indian uprising. 

About this time the American statesmen were awakening to the com- 
mercial value of the west and to try to save it for the United States. 
Mexico now being independent was the nominal owner of the Spanish 
possessions in the southwest, but was too far away to hold a very tight 
rein. It was clear to any thinker that some stronger government would 
soon appropriate them. Both France and Great Britain were known to 
be just awaiting an excuse. Senator Benton of Missouri, the gateway of 
the west, from the reports of the possibilities of the country beyond, 
was most anxious to obtain it for his own country. However, his fore- 
sight was not shared by his colleagues who debated the matter in Con- 
gress with arguments which in the light of succeeding events seem to 
us very laughable. Petty politics also interfered. Finally, through Ben- 
ton's efforts, John C. Fremont, a young engineer, was put in charge of 
an expedition whose secret intent was the occupation of the west by the 
United States. But even when he was ready to start petty politics inter- 
fered, and his wife, who was a daughter of Senator Benton (Jessie), 
intercepted and withheld the order, delaying them until the expedition 
was beyond reach, rather than see the fruit of her father's and hus- 
band's work lost by political filibustering. We probably owe it to her 
that California is one of the United States instead of a French or Eng- 
lish colony, as Fremont was accidentally turned into California and his 
reports roused the whole country. 

In 1846 the Americans in Southern California, which was then part 
of the Mexican possessions, urged the government to send troops to 
protect them from the insults and depredations of an organized gang 
of Mexican bandits. Fort Leavenworth was the nearest fort to the 
coast, and the route between was little used and full of hardships, but 
as complaints and petitions were becoming more frequent, in June an 
order was issued to send a column of cavalry under Colonel Philip 
Kearny to their relief, with directions to proceed by the shortest route 
to San Diego. The war department asked that officers from the engi- 


neering department be sent along to take observations. Lieutenant 
Emory and two assistants were appointed for this end of the expedi- 
tion. They followed the old trail between the mouth of the Gila and 
San Diego. Some captured Mexicans informed them the waters of the 
lake some 30 or 40 miles away were too salty to use, but because other 
information did not tally with this statement they disbelieved it, and 
continued on their way. They found it even worse than the Mexican 
had said, and searching parties were sent out to locate a running stream 
which they said they had found a league west. Lieutenant Emory's re- 
ports were complete and detailed — he speaks, for instance, of reaching 
"an immense level of clay hard and smooth as a bowling green," which 
it is quite likely was the present site of the City of Imperial. He also 
noted the shells in the desert, and Captain A. A. Johnson, who was with 
him, was probably the first to realize that the desert was the bed of a 
departed body of water, for he wrote : "At a not distant day this place 
which is now a dry desert was a permanent lake." They make no men- 
tion of the fact that the desert was below the sea level, which is a sur- 
prising oversight considering the completeness of their notes. 

Kearny's party reached San Diego early in 1847 and engaged with 
the Mexicans there and later at Los Angeles, where the American flag 
was planted to stay. 

Kearny's party was followed by another; a company of Mormons 
expelled from Nauvoo, Illinois, were formed into a company consisting 
of 500 men of all ages, under Captain St. George Cook, known as the 
"Mormon Battalion." After many and extreme hardships, and ham- 
pered by a wagon train, for which they were obliged to hew the rocks 
to make a path wide enough to let them through the canyon at San 
Felipe, they reached Los Angeles. 

The Mexican war resulted in the seizure of California and New Mex- 
ico and the purchase of Arizona. The treaties of Guadeloupe Hidalgo 
and the Gadsen Purchase stipulated that the boundary line between 
Mexico and the United States should be jointly explored and run, and 
in 1850 to 1853 John Russell Bartlett and assistants did the work for 
the United States and the route they followed was from San Diego to 
Yuma by way of San Pasqual (Warner's ranch) and San Felipe, thence 
by Cameron Lake to the Colorado River. 

Some time before gold was discovered in California a General Ander- 


son of Tennessee went from Tucson to California, and on reaching the 
Colorado built a ferry boat to transport his party and equipment. After- 
ward he gave this boat to the Yuma Indians with a certificate by which 
they held possession as long as they would ferry Americans across the 
river at the rate of one dollar per man, one for his horse or mule and 
one for his pack, but would forfeit it when they failed to keep this rate. 
The Indians were faithful to this contract and for some time operated 
the ferry at the lower crossing, some four or five miles below Yuma. 
But with the rush of adventurers to the gold fields the white men looked 
with covetous eye on a business they knew would prove a gold mine it- 
self, and this caused the first trouble with the Indians. Dr. Lincoln, said 
to be a relative of President Lincoln, seeing the possibilities of the ferry 
run by an American and not wishing to interfere with the Indians, es- 
tablished one at the junction of the Gila and Colorado. It proved very 
profitable, and he had a number of men working for him. One of them, 
a man named Glanton, quickly acquired a dominating influence in the 
business. Until his advent there had been no conflict between the In- 
dians and Dr. Lincoln, but Glanton determined to drive the Indians out 
of business, and is said to have destroyed the Indians' boat and mur- 
dered a white man working for them. This treatment infuriated the na- 
tives, who never had been very friendly to the whites, and it resulted in 
the murder of the white men at the ferry and the determination on the 
part of the Indians to kill every American they met. As a large party of 
immigrants was expected shortly, Governor Burnett, for their protec- 
tion and the punishment of the Yumas, ordered the sheriff of San Diego 
to enroll 20 men, and the sheriff of Los Angeles 40, to be placed under 
the command of General Bean of the State militia and proceed at once to 
the scene of the trouble. General Bean placed the command in the hands 
of General Moorhead, but the expedition did no good whatever, but sent 
in a tremendous expense account, so in the following November Fort 
Yuma was established for the protection of that part of the country, 
and Major Heintzel was put in command. Under his authority a party 
left San Diego in May, 1850, fully equipped to build and run boats at 
Lincoln's ferry. After a few years of successful operation, the ferry 
line was sold to Diego Yeager, who made a fortune out of it before the 
building of the Southern Pacific Railway, after which it ceased to be 
so profitable. 



Another expedition of military engineers, sent out to investigate pos- 
sible railroad routes to the coast, passed over the desert in 1853 under 
Lieutenant R. S. Williamson, and Professor William Blake was ap- 
pointed geologist of the party. His reports are both complete and very 

In 1855 Congress appropriated money to buy camels for transporta- 
tion purposes across the desert, it being necessary in some way to re- 
duce the time, labor and discomfort of desert travel : and two different 
herds were purchased, one in 1856 and another in 1857. In some re- 
spects they were very satisfactory ; but a camel needs to be handled by 
men who understand it, and when the officers who did were transferred 
and the new men in charge neither understood nor cared to learn, com- 
plications ensued which resulted in the abandonment of the camel 
scheme, and the sale of the animals, save a few which escaped to the 


As a preliminary to the building of the railroads, various stage lines 
were run. One called the San Antonio and San Diego. Semi-monthly 
stages ran for about a year. Then the historic Butterfield Stage Coach 
Line was started. It ran semi-weekly, and had a six years' contract with 
the government for carrying mails, at $600,000 per year. The route lay 
between St. Louis and San Francisco, and was covered in from twenty 
to twenty-two days, although it is said to have made the trip in sixteen 
upon occasion. There were three stations upon this line, at Coyote 
Springs, Indian Wells, and at the east side chain of sand hills. 

The mail service of the Butterfield stage was not the first that Cali- 
fornia had. As early as the time when Benjamin Franklin was appointed 
postmaster general for the colonies, there were monthly mail trips be- 
tween Monterey in Upper California, and Loreto, at the end of Lower 
California. They even had a franking system in full force, which was 
seemingly as much abused in those days as in our own. 

The California mail system was not only four hundred miles longer 
than the Continental one on the eastern coast, but it made better time, 
which is a surprise to those of us who are in the habit of considering 
California and its institutions as new and rather undeveloped. 



Northern California had a number of stage routes beside the Butter- 
field— the first in Southern California was Gregory's Great Atlantic and 
Pacific Express. It brought the eastern mail down from San Francisco. 
The first overland stage by a southern route started from San Antonio, 
Texas, and followed the extreme southern route through New Mexico 
and Arizona to California. Owing to Indian outrages this route was 
abandoned. The Butterfield route was the largest and best organized of 
all the stage routes, but it suffered so much loss through the Civil war 
that it was abandoned. The last stage company was Wells Fargo & 
Company, which was established in 1868. 

The same year that the Butterfield stage line was established, Dr. 
Oliver Wozencraft began to agitate the question of bringing the waters 
of the Colorado River into the Salton Sink for irrigation purposes. 
Many people less informed on the subject of irrigation than he regarded 
him as a dreamer, but nevertheless his project might have gone through 
but for the breaking out of the Civil war. In 1859 a bill was passed by 
the California State Legislature which ceded to Dr. Wozencraft and 
associates about 1600 square miles of desert land in consideration of a 
water supply being introduced. The reclamation must begin in two years 
and be finished in ten, and as fast as it was introduced the government 
was to issue patents for the land reclaimed ; the title to be granted when 
all conditions were filled. But the Civil war stopped proceedings. After 
the war, Dr. Wozencraft again endeavored to bring the matter up, but 
died suddenly in Washington just as it was about to come up for an- 
other hearing. He sacrificed his entire property to this project of recla- 

In 1 881 to 1884 the tracks of the Southern Pacific were laid follow- 
ing the main survey of the government in 1853. Those who complain 
of the fatigue and dust of the trip across the desert in the comfortable 
Pullman of today should read the diaries of those pioneers of western 
progress and learn what discomfort in traveling really is. The comple- 
tion of the Southern Pacific Railroad closed the first part of the story 
of the Colorado Desert. 

In 1883 the New Liverpool Salt Company filed on some land and 
leased more from the Southern Pacific and began to recover the layers 
of salt which covered the bottom of the Salton Basin — now the Salton 
Sea. They scraped the salt in heaps with steam plows and then purified 


it. This company made a great deal of money until the overflow which 
in 1906 destroyed the whole plant. 


P. J. Storms was one of the first permanent settlers in the Valley ; he 
came just after the annual overflow of the river and saw the land cov- 
ered with grass, and thousands of head of stock grazing. 

In the valley were Andy Elliott, Tom McKane, Fred Webb, Nat Wil- 
lard, Bruce Casebier, Bert McKane, Wash Lawrence, Arthur Ewens, 
Thomas Silsbee and Charles Hook. The Valley then had one voting pre- 
cinct with ten voters on the list : P. J. Storms, Arthur Ewens, A. J. El- 
liott, Fred Hall, William Huitt, W. Wilkins, Thomas Silsbee, A. N. 
Jones, William Harris and Peter Larson. It was still part of San Diego 
County and they were 140 miles by stage and 300 miles by rail from the 
county seat, and as a result the election supplies did not arrive for the 
first election until it was over. 

In October, 1900, the Imperial Land Company started the towns of 
Imperial, Brawley, Calexico, Heber and Silsbee. Imperial was located 
in the center of the irrigable district, and was intended to be the chief 
city of Imperial Valley, Calexico on the international line, Silsbee to 
the southwest, Brawley north, and Heber to the south ; afterward Holt- 
ville and El Centro were added to the list. 

The first store in Imperial was for general merchandise and was built 
and stocked by Dr. Heffernan, and Millard Hudson erected a tent hotel. 
The next year was built the Christian Church and a printing office. 
They were the only wooden buildings in the Imperial Valley until late 
in 1901. As the accommodations improved the stream of land seekers in- 
creased. W. F. Holt built a telephone line from Imperial to Flowing 
Well telegraph station. The Imperial Press, Henry Reed, editor, was 
the first paper. The first child born was a son of Tom Beach, superin- 
tendent of construction of the canals. Most of the necessaries used by 
the settlers in the early days was brought in by the freighter with a 
long string of mules, but the mule is being displaced by the automobile 
and traction engine, and one of the picturesque effects of the country 
is fast disappearing. 

In May of that year (1891) a postoffice was given to Imperial with 
Dr. Heffernan as postmaster, and in the fall a public school was organ- 


ized by Professor J. E. Carr from Nevada City. This school was to 
serve for the entire district and was located in the center of the popula- 
tion, which was about 10 miles south of Imperial City on the bank of 
the main canal. The night before the school was to open Professor Carr 
took two men and drove to the location in a wagon and set up a tent, 
and next to it they built the school house of arrow weed, with eight sup- 
porting poles and the next day this sheltered 50 pupils, many of whom 
later walked five miles every day. In the following spring the district 
was divided and permanent buildings erected. 

In April, 1902, the Imperial Land Company invited the Southern 
California Editorial Association to make an excursion to the Imperial 
Valley, and they were so well treated that they felt very friendly to the 
Valley and the publicity they gave to the work of development brought 
a great many settlers. 

In 1902 the government put out "Circular No. 9," a so-called soil ex- 
pert's report on the soil of the Valley which had been eagerly watched 
for both by the settlers and prospective settlers. He proved conclusively, 
to his own satisfaction, that the land was too full of alkali to grow any- 
thing. It did not leave the settlers a ray of hope. Many newspapers gave 
publicity to the pamphlet and featured it. One editor, Isaac Frazier of 
the Oceanside Blade, treated the thing as a joke and with some others 
refused to take the government expert seriously. There is no doubt but 
the report did a great deal of damage to the community, beside injuring 
the credit of the California Development Company. Dissensions arising 
in the company itself, the Chaffeys withdrew from the enterprise. Time 
has disproved the report of the government's inexperienced expert, and 
the settlers have gone on raising all sorts of things that were said to be 

In 1902 the first Farmers Institute was held in the new brick block of 
the Imperial Land Company. In August they gave a big watermelon fes- 
tival where 250 people feasted. In fact the year 1902 witnessed the birth 
of many business enterprises and a rapid growth of construction and 
settlement. Water was turned into the main canal in March, 1902. 


(written in 1909) 

Early in 1892, while located at North Yakima, Washington, I received 
a letter from one John C. Beatty, writing from Denver, sending to me a 
prospectus and plans of what was called the Arizona & Sonora Land & 
Irrigation Company. They proposed to take water from the Colorado 
River and carry it on to a tract of a million and a half acres in Sonora, 
which they claimed to own. The board of directors of the company con- 
sisted of several of the leading financial men of Colorado, and Mr. 
Beatty's desire was that I should make them a proposition whereby I 
would become the chief engineer of that project and undertake the con- 
struction of its proposed canals. 

After a correspondence extending over a period of four or five 
months, I finally met Mr. Beatty at Denver in August, 1892, and enter- 
ed there into an agreement with this company, and in September of 
that year came to Yuma in order to outline and take charge of the pro- 
ject of their company. 

In Denver I met Mr. Samuel Ferguson, who afterward became con- 
nected with me in the promotion of the California Development 'Com- 
pany and who was at that time the general manager of the Kern County 
Land Company. Mr. Ferguson had written to me previously, asking me 
to become the chief engineer of the Kern County Land Company, situ- 
ated at Bakersfield, California, and he met me in Denver in order to 
outline their project to me before I might close with Mr. Beatty. As the 
Kern County canal system was partially completed, I decided to under- 
take the new project rather than the rebuilding of an old house, with 
the result that I came to Yuma in September of the year 1892 and un- 
dertook surveys to determine the feasibility of the Arizona & Sonora 
Land & Irrigation Company's proposition. After projecting these sur- 
veys I decided that the irrigation of the Sonora land at the time was en- 


tirely unfeasible and reported to my people that, in my opinion, they 
would lose any money they might spend on the project. 

In the meantime, however, while these surveys were in progress I had 
taken a team and made a trip into that portion of the Colorado Desert 
which is now known as the Imperial Valley. We knew that during the 
flood of the Colorado River in the year 1891 the overflow had found its 
way into this territory. Mr. Hawgood, at the time the resident engineer 
of the Southern Pacific Company at Los Angeles, had for his company 
made a study of this overflow and from the data at his command had 
compiled a map of the territory. This map, as well as the government 
surveys of 1854 and 1856, showed that not only was there in all prob- 
ability a large area of fertile land in the valley, but that these lands lay 
below the Colorado River and could be irrigated from it. Many years 
before this, Dr.Wozencraft of San Bernardino had attempted to get the 
government to bring water into the Colorado Desert, and I believe that 
General Fremont also attempted to get the government to turn the wat- 
er into what is known now as Salton Sea, not for the purpose of irriga- 
tion, but for the purpose of creating a large inland lake in the hope that 
it would ameliorate the severe climatic conditions that obtained in this 

The result of my investigations at this time was such as to lead me 
to believe that, without doubt, one of the most meritorious irrigation 
projects in the country would be bringing together the land of the Col- 
orado Desert and the water of the Colorado River. 

In the preliminary report made to the Denver corporation early in 
the year 1893, I urged them to undertake the surveys which might be 
necessary in order to prove or disprove my belief, and I was authorized 
to run preliminary lines in order to determine the levels, the possible 
acreage of available lands and, approximately, the cost of construction. 

They were so well assured from the nature of my preliminary report 
that the Colorado Desert project was a meritorious one that they imme- 
diately took steps to change the name of their company from the Ari- 
zona & Sonora Land & Irrigation Company to that of the Colorado Riv- 
er Irrigation Company, and assured me that if my report, after making 
the necessary surveys, was sufficiently favorable, they had back of 
them a fund of two million dollars to carry out the project. 

I undertook then during the winter of 1892-1893 very careful sur- 


veys, starting from a proposed heading about twelve miles above Yuma, 
at a point called the Pot Holes, situated about one mile below the La- 
guna dam of the reclamation service; the surveys extended from this 
point into the Colorado Desert and around to the Southern Pacific Rail- 
road in the neighborhood of Flowing Well. 

It was necessary for the canal to enter Mexico. All of the lands in 
Mexico were owned by General Guillermo Andrade, although the 
Blythe estate claimed to own one-half of the Andrade lands. Beatty, un- 
fortunately for him, consulted his personal friend, General W. H. H. 
Hart, who was at that time attorney general for the State of California, 
as well as attorney for the Blythes. Hart showed so little faith in An- 
drade's ability to deliver title that Beatty, instead of attempting to pla- 
cate Andrade and obtain his co-operation, succeeded in antagonizing 
him and was afterward unable to enter into any agreement that would 
permit his company to build in Mexico. 

In the panic of 1893 most of the directors of the Colorado River Irri- 
gation Company were so crippled financially that they were unable to 
carry out this project, notwithstanding the fact that my surveys and 
reports developed a much more favorable proposition than my prelimi- 
nary report even had anticipated. Unfortunately, Mr. Beatty, who was 
the promoter and manager of this enterprise, was of the Colonel Sellers 
type of man and his ideas were not always practical. 

Beatty, however, not discouraged, went to New York in that year 
and attempted to secure the funds required for construction. He elim- 
inated from his board of directors the Denver people, substituting very 
strong New York men. Among his original New York board was John 
Straitton, the multimillionaire president of the Straitton & Storm Cigar 
Company, manufacturers of the Owl cigar ; F. K. Hains, superintend- 
ent of the Manhattan Elevated Railway Companies ; Thomas L. James, 
postmaster general under Cleveland's administration, and several other 
men of equal prominence, but whose names I forget. 

Those men were mostly dummy directors, receiving in addition to 
the stock bonus for use of their names, so much for every time they at- 
tended a directors' meeting, and Beatty succeeded in obtaining very 
little aid financially from them. He had interested, though, a cousin, 
James H. Beatty, of Canada, from whom he obtained a great- deal of 
financial assistance. James H. Beatty, I believe, put in over fifty thou- 


sand dollars at this time, but in the next year, 1894, he not only with- 
drew his support, but entered suit against John C. Beatty in order to 
prevent him from selling any more stock in the Colorado River Irriga- 
tion Company. 

As an illustration of the character of John C. Beatty, in March, 1894, 
he came from New York to Los Angeles. At that time I had not been 
paid for my services to the company ; on the contrary, while a sufficient 
amount of money had usually been forthcoming to pay the monthly 
bills, when I disbanded the engineering forces in June, 1893, I was 
obliged to pay part of the men from my own funds, and at the time of 
Mr. Beatty's visit to Los Angeles in 1894, I had not succeeded in getting 
a refund of this money. Consequently, I told Mr. Beatty that as other 
creditors had not been paid that I proposed to bring suit quietly in 
order to gain legal possession of all the surveys and engineering equip- 
ment in order that it might not be scattered among various creditors 
and its value rendered largely nil. I told Beatty it would be useless for 
him to defend it and that I would give them six months if I obtained 
possession of the property in which to redeem it. He agreed to this and 
left Los Angeles for the City of Mexico to obtain, as he said, the 1 right 
from the Mexican government to carry his proposed canal through 
Lower California in spite of the opposition of General Andrade. Mr. 
Beatty, at this time, was practically broke, as I judged from the fact 
that notwithstanding he had on a new suit and looked as if he had come 
from a tailor's shop. I unfortunately accompanied him as far as Yuma 
on this trip, and when, after getting his supper at the station, he put his 
foot on the car step, he turned to me and said : "By the way, Rockwood, 
I believe I am a little short of cash. I will get plenty in El Paso. Let me 
have ten dollars until I get there when I will return it." I did this and 
I have never seen the ten dollars since, although Mr. Beatty did succeed 
in raising $100 in El Paso by getting a stranger to cash a sight draft on 
the Colorado River Irrigation Company of New York for that amount. 
At that time, the Colorado Irrigation Company did not have a dollar in 
its treasury, nor did it have a treasurer. After Beatty got his hundred 
dollars he went to Mexico. There, notwithstanding the fact that he 
spoke the language fluently, and had many acquaintances in the city, he 
fell into financial depths to such an extent that he was unable to pull 
himself out and get away from the country until his son Herbert, a 


young man then in his twenty-first year, sent him $250 from Providence, 
Rhode Island, and told his father to get back to Providence as soon as 
possible as they could raise all the money they required there. 

The $250 which Herbert sent to his father in Mexico was half of 
$500 which he succeeded in borrowing from a man by the name of 
Green, living in Providence, Rhode Island. This man Green, Beatty had 
met at Chicago during the world's fair the previous year, and having 
at that time discussed the possibilities of the Colorado River project 
with him, had gone to Providence to see if he could obtain any funds 
from him. 

Beatty returned from Mexico to Providence in July, 1894. I went 
east from California in the same month, and having interested myself 
with General Andrade and believing that it would be impossible for 
Beatty to carry out any scheme of irrigation, I went to Scotland in Sep- 
tember of that year in order to see a syndicate of Glasgow and Edin- 
burgh men who held an option from Andrade on all of his lands in 
Lower California. My desire was to see if I could not induce these men 
to raise the necessary capital to carry out the project and to join the 
Lower California lands with those north of the line and finance the 
whole thing as a complete project, but very much to my disgust I found 
that these Scotch people were all interested in the coal trade ; that coal 
had taken a tremendous slump in a few months previous, and that these 
men were so financially stricken that they could do nothing ; they would 
not, however, agree to give up their option except at a very high figure. 
Consequently, I was obliged to wait until the expiration of this option, 
which was to take place on the 15th day of May, 1905. 

I returned from Europe in October, 1894, and found a letter waiting 
me at my hotel in New York from John C. Beatty urging me to visit 
him in Providence, Rhode Island, before I returned to California. I de- 
cided to do so and went to Providence. Mr. Beatty, who, you will re- 
member, was broke in Mexico City in July of the same year, met me 
at the train and insisted that I should go to his house instead of a hotel, 
and I accepted his invitation. He took me to one of the suburbs of Prov- 
idence, the old village of Pawtuxet, and to a beautiful old colonial 
house situated in ten acres of ground sloping down to Naragansett Bay. 
The property, which I can readily believe had originally cost over $50,- 
000, had been repainted, replumbed, green houses rebuilt, solid marble 


washstands with silver trimmings put in every bedroom, and two new 
bathrooms had been built. I looked at Beatty in astonishment. The only 
explanation he would give me was that he had come to the conclusion 
that in order to raise money in Providence it was necessary to be one of 
the people and not a carpet-bagger, and for that reason he had pur- 
chased this place from the noted evangelist, Rev. B. Fay Mills. I discov- 
ered afterward that the only money that the Rev. B. Fay Mills had re- 
ceived from Mr. Beatty was the sum of $500, payable on account of 
purchase, the remainder to be paid after Mr. Beatty had examined the 
records, but unfortunately Mr. Mills had given Beatty possession. The 
$500 which he paid Mills had been borrowed from this same Nathaniel 
Green. Of all the bills, plumbers', carpenters', painters', bills for furni- 
ture and dishes, I was told that not one had been paid, and that Beatty 
had succeeded in paying the workmen in notes so it was impossible for 
them to get a lien on any of the property. 

Beatty had a thousand dollar piano in the house on which he had paid 
nothing. One of his daughters, who was a fine musician, played for me 
in the evening. I noticed that she had but a few sheets of music and I 
afterwards discovered that all of her music was in her trunks and that 
the trunks of the entire family were then being held in the Murray Hill 
Hotel in New York for non-payment of bills. 

When I landed in Providence in October, 1894, at Beatty's request, 
he first took me out to his house where I remained over night and the 
next morning he took me to his offices down town. His offices were, at 
that time, in the finest building in the town ;'he took me to the topi floor 
of the building, where I found he had a suite of six magnificent rooms 
most beautifully furnished ; he had four stenographers employed and, 
wonderful to say, he had his showcases and tables filled with oranges, 
lemons, bananas, figs, apricots, all products of the Colorado Desert, 
which, at that time, was producing nothing but a few horned toads and 
once in a while a coyote. 

He also had in Providence six agents at work who were rapidly 
bringing in the coin, because it was afterward discovered in a suit 
brought against Beatty and his company that he had obtained from the 
people of Providence between his coming there in the latter end of July 
and this time, which was about the middle of October, something over 
$35,000, in cash; notwithstanding the fact that his cousin, James H. 


Beatty, had succeeded in getting an injunction preventing him from 
selling any of the stock of the Colorado River Irrigation Company. 
Beatty had obeyed this injunction, but, under a technicality, had imme- 
diately turned around and sold his own private stock in the company ; 
consequently, the money, instead of being property of the company, was 
his own property and was evidently devoted to his personal uses. 

Beatty desired me to remain in Providence in order to help him fi- 
nance his scheme. He assured me that he had men in tow who, if every- 
thing could be shown up to them to be all right, would put up all of the 
money that was necessary to carry the enterprise through, but I refused 
to join Beatty in his proposition unless he would put the enterprise in 
what I considered an honest business shape, which was to throw out his 
entire basis of capitalization. His Colorado River Irrigation Company 
was capitalized for seven and a half millions, which was based at $5.00 
an acre upon one and a half million acres of land wholly in Sonora, 
which lands were not worth two cents an acre and never could be made 
worth any more, and which had no more connection with the enterprise 
of the Colorado Irrigation Company than if they had been situated in 
Alaska ; but if Beatty were to abandon these lands as a basis of his capi- 
talization, he would have no reason or excuse for holding the control of 
the stock of the company — consequently he refused absolutely to con- 
sider the reorganization and a decrease in the capitalization of the com- 
pany. I declined then to have anything whatever to do with him and 
came to California. 

After I had notified Mr. Beatty in March, 1894, that I should bring 
suit to secure myself against other creditors, as well as to secure the 
company, I brought suit both in Los Angeles and in Yuma, Arizona, as 
the property was at that time partially in Arizona and partially in Los 
Angeles, and succeeded by means of the suit, in obtaining legal posses- 
sion of all the personal properties. 

Later, I believe it was in the winter of 1895, Mr. Beatty, who had not 
yet given up his attempts and his hopes to carry out the Colorado River 
enterprise, attempted to buy back from me the properties which I had 
acquired under the judgment and offered me water rights in the Colo- 
rado Desert on the basis of $10 an acre for the entire amount of my 
judgment. When I pointed out to him that I already owned water rights 
covering at least 600,000 acres, that all that was necessary for me to do 



to make these rights good was to construct canals and take water to the 
land, Mr. Beatty became generous and offered to reduce his price of 
$10 for water rights to $5, but this offer I declined. 

Coming to California in October, I went to Bakersfield to call upon 
Mr. Ferguson, who, as I have stated, was the manager of the Kern 
County Land Company, and who had carried through large projects. He 
had been connected with the Southern Pacific Railway Company in va- 
rious land enterprises, and has spent much time in Europe in connection 
with the enterprise of the Kern County Land Company, and I believed 
him to be best constituted by his experience and ability to assist me in 
the work of raising funds for the development of the Colorado Desert 
enterprise should the time arrive when I could take that work up. I be- 
lieved that that time would come as soon as the option held by the Glas- 
gow people had expired on the Andrade lands. 

I had, at this time, very little faith in my own ability as a financier or 
promoter. All of the years of my life up to this time had been spent in 
the interest of the two or three corporations by whom I had been em- 
ployed in technical engineering work. I had not come in contact with 
the business world nor with business men and I felt that it was neces- 
sary for me to join with myself some man who had, in experience, that 
which I lacked. 

I succeeded in interesting Mr. Ferguson so that when the Glasgow 
option expired on the Andrade lands on the 15th of May, 1895, I imme- 
diately secured from General Andrade on the payment of $5000 another 
option for myself and associates covering the lands or a portion of the 
lands in Lower California. Mr. Ferguson then severed his connection 
with the Kern County Land Company and joined me in the promotion 
of the new enterprise. The five thousand dollars mentioned which I paid 
Andrade at this time was furnished by my friend, Dr. W. T. Heffernan, 
who had told me some time previous during the Beatty regime, that he 
believed in the enterprise and would like to invest money in it. I told 
the doctor, without explaining fully my ideas of John C. Beatty, to keep 
his money in his pocket until I told him to bring it forth, which he did. 

At this time I had decided that as the Denver corporation with its 
promised millions was not back of me, and that the proposition would 
require very much less money and consequently would be easier to fi- 
nance if the water, instead of being taken out at the Pot Holes, should be 


taken from the Colorado River on the property of Hall Hanlon, imme- 
diately above the international line between Mexico and the United 
States. After acquiring the Andrade option, negotiations were opened 
with Hanlon for the purchase of his 318 acres of sand hills and rocks ; 
but very much to our chagrin we found that Mr. Hanlon realized fully 
that he held the key to the situation and that instead of being able to 
purchase his property for possibly two thousand dollars, which was far 
in excess of its value for agricultural purposes, that he had fixed the price 
at $20,000, and to this price we finally had to accede and paid him $2000 
on account. This $2000 was also furnished by Dr. W. T. Heffernan, 
without whose financial assistance at this time, and for several years 
afterward, it would have been utterly impossible for me to have car- 
ried on the work of promotion. To Dr. Heffernan, his steadfast friend- 
ship for me personally, and to his faith in the ultimate outcome of the 
enterprise, I believe is largely due the success which afterwards accom- 
panied our efforts, and to him is very largely due the credit of bringing 
the water into Imperial Valley. 

I presumed, of course, that Mr. Ferguson would be able to secure all 
the funds that would be required in very short time. In fact, he told me 
so, and I presume, like many others, I am inclined to take a man at 
the estimate which he puts upon himself until something proves differ- 
ent. I had made of him an equal partner, he putting in nothing, although 
I had put in some two years' labor and considerable money, togethef 
with all the engineering surveys and equipment, etc., representing the 
expenditure of over $35,000. 

Unfortunately, he failed in his efforts to secure funds, and I soon 
found that while personally to me he was a very delightful friend 
and companion, that his connections with me were a source of weak- 
ness instead of strength. As, for instance, in the summer of 1894, I had 
several long talks with Mr. A. G. Hubbard of Redlands regarding the 
enterprise. Mr. Hubbard became greatly interested and promised me 
that as soon as the weather cooled in the latter part of September or 
October, he would make a trip with me over the desert, together with 
an engineer of his own selection, and that if the estimate of his engineer 
did not more than twice exceed my estimate, as to the amount of money 
that would be required, that he would finance the enterprise. At the time 
he told me that there would be but one reason that might prevent him 


from doing so, and that was he might be obliged to take up the Bear 
Valley enterprise ; that while his investment in the Bear Valley enter- 
prise was not of such a magnitude but what he might lose it without 
crippling himself, that his pride was wrapped up in its success. After- 
ward, I think in August of that year, Mr. Hubbard met me in Los An- 
geles and said that he had decided to take up the Bear Valley propo- 
sition and would be obliged to drop the Colorado Desert project. Had 
Mr. Hubbard at that time been entirely frank with me, the history of 
the enterprise would in all probability be a very different one from what 
it is today, for while he did take up the Bear Valley enterprise, a year 
later he confided to one of my associates, Mr. H. W. Blaisdell, and af- 
terward to myself, that the real reason for his dropping the enterprise 
was less on account of his connection with the Bear Valley proposition 
than for the reason that I had associated myself with Mr. S. W. Fer- 
guson and had made him the manager, and from his knowledge of Mr. 
Ferguson's management of the Kern County Land Company, he decid- 
ed that he did not care to be connected with him. In answer to my ques- 
tion as to why he did not tell me this at the time in order to allow me to 
remove Mr. Ferguson, he said that his only reason was that he had 
plenty of money himself and he did not see why he should get mixed up 
in a quarrel. 

In June, 1895, Mr. Ferguson went to New York to see some financial 
men there regarding the project, but succeeded in accomplishing noth- 
ing and returned to California in July or August. 

It was about this time that Mr. A. H. Heber, who was the Chicago 
agent of the Kern County Land Company, under Mr. Ferguson, came 
to California and Mr. Ferguson introduced him to me as a man who 
might be able to materially assist us in securing funds to carry on this 
work as well as in handling the land and obtaining colonists in the fu- 
ture, but no connection was made with him then. Afterward, in Novem- 
ber, 1895, both Mr. Ferguson and I went to Chicago, and after remain- 
ing there for a few days, Mr. Ferguson went to New York, while I re- 
mained in Chicago to get out the first prospectus maps which were being 
printed for us by Rand-MacNally. 

While in Chicago on this trip, I made Mr. Heber's office my head- 
quarters, and becoming better acquainted with him and his business 
methods, he impressed me more favorably than in my first interview 


with him in the spring, and after I went on to New York in December 
and found that Mr. Ferguson was not succeeding as I had hoped in se- 
curing funds, we decided to have Mr. Heber join us. Heber's connec- 
tion then with the enterprise dates from the time that he came to New 
York to join Ferguson and myself in the month of December, 1895. 

We made our office in New York with Herbert Van Valkenburg, who 
was one of the old stockholders and directors of John C. Beatty's Colo- 
rado River Irrigation Company, and a scion of a very wealthy and 
prominent New York family of bankers and merchants. We employed 
as our attorney in New York Mr. E. S. Rapallo, a brother-in-law of Mr. 
Van Valkenburg, and who was at that time, and is now (1909) attor- 
ney for the Manhattan Life Insurance Company, one of the attorneys 
for the United States Trust Company, and one of the attorneys for the 
Manhattan Elevated Railway Company. To Mr. Rapallo we submitted 
all our papers, even our advertising matter, in order that we might be 
assured that we were proceeding on strictly legal lines. 

Neither Mr. Ferguson nor Mr. Heber succeeded in securing funds or 
assurances as rapidly as we had hoped. We decided, nevertheless, to 
proceed with the organization of the company and that its name should 
be the California Development Company. We perfected the organiza- 
tion of the company on the 26th day of April, 1896. 

At the time of the organization of the company, I was not in New 
York. I had been obliged to return to California and from California I 
had gone to the City of Mexico to obtain from the Mexican government 
certain concessions which were necessary, and the company was organ- 
ized during my absence, Mr. Heber being made president. Neither Mr. 
Ferguson nor Mr. James H. Beatty, who at that time was an equal 
partner with Ferguson and myself, was made a director of the com- 
pany, nor was I, for the reason that all the properties which we had ac- 
quired were in the possession of the three of us, and these properties 
were afterward sold to the company, we taking out in payment therefor 
a portion of its capital stock, which stock was afterward sold or divid- 
ed among our associates. After this transaction had taken place both 
Mr. Ferguson and myself went upon the board of directors, I becoming 
its vice-president, which position in the company I held until the year 
1899, when I became the president of the company, until the contract 
with George Chaffey was entered into in the year 1900 whereby he be- 


came president of the company, and I its vice-president again, but that 
I will speak of again in the future. 

While I was in the City of Mexico in April, 1896, I received word 
from Mr. Heber that he had succeeded in interesting the Mennonite 
Church of Kansas in the project, and that he would arrange to meet me 
with a committee of the Mennonites to go over the lands on my return 
from Mexico. I came from Mexico on my return trip in May, 1896, and 
at Yuma met Mr. Heber and three members of the church headed by 
the Rev. David Goerz of Newton, Kansas. These gentlemen I took for 
a trip from Yuma through Lower California, then returning to Yuma 
shipped a team from there to Flowing Well, from which point we drove 
out across the Alamo to very near the present site of the town of Im- 
perial. These men were very greatly impressed with the country and we 
hoped for material aid from them, but succeeded in obtaining, I think, 
not exceeding $2000, and the colonists we expected to get from that 
source were not forthcoming, very much to our disappointment. Mr. 
Heber and I returned east to Chicago in the month of July. 

Previous to my going east this time I had some talk with Mr. H. W. 
Blaisdell of Yuma, Arizona, who had been a successful mining man and 
at that time was largely interested in development work in and around 
Yuma and who had, as well, an influential connection in Boston. The 
result of my talk with Mr. Blaisdell was an agreement whereby he was 
to undertake to secure funds for us in Boston during the summer. He 
met me in New York and my agreement with him was confirmed by 
my associates there and Mr. Blaisdell went on to Boston. 

Neither Mr. Ferguson nor Mr. Heber nor I succeeded in raising any 
considerable amount of money during the summer. Mr. Blaisdell had 
gotten in touch in Boston with capital and I knew from my talks with 
him that he could put in if necessary a few thousand of ready cash to 
keep the machinery moving, but at this time Mr. Ferguson not only had 
not raised any money whatever, but had succeeded by his expense ac- 
count in largely depleting our treasury, and neither Mr. Heber nor I 
were willing to see at that time any more money go into the treasury 
until a different arrangement could be made with him. He, however, 
had his interest in the stock of the company and it was necessary to find 
some purchaser for his interest before he could be successfully elimin- 
ated. I found this purchaser in Mr. Blaisdell, who succeeded in raising 


the funds necessary to buy out Mr. Ferguson's interest under a proposal 
which I made to Ferguson. This was done in September, 1896, after 
which we put Mr. Heber in as the general manager as well as president 
of the company, and Mr. Blaisdell came upon the board of directors. 

Mr. Blaisdell was at this time negotiating with Mr. H. W. Forbes, 
who had been for several years the president of the Bell Telephone 
Company, and was reputed to be worth fifteen millions. Mr. Forbes was 
very much enthused over the project as outlined, but he was a man well 
along in years and desired the enterprise not so much for himself as for 
his two sons who had just left college and desired to come west'. 

The result of the negotiations with Mr. Forbes was that he agreed to 
put up the required capital for the development of the enterprise, pro- 
viding that the report of the engineer he should send to make an exam- 
ination was entirely satisfactory. The specific agreement at that time 
was that if the report of his engineer disputed any of the material state- 
ments in our prospectus, which had been written by myself, that we 
would pay the cost of the report ; otherwise Mr. Forbes was to pay for 
the report. 

When these negotiations were concluded, I was in California, where I 
had been obliged to come in order to make a new contract, if possible, 
with General Andrade, for the reason that we were unable to make the 
payment to the general in accordance with the old contract, and I de- 
sired to make a new contract before the old one should become void by 
the expiration of the time limit. This I finally, after some trouble, suc- 
ceeded in doing. The general was loath to enter into another agreement 
as a year and a half had now elapsed since the time that he had given 
me the first option and he was beginning to doubt the success of my 
efforts. I, however, did succeed finally in making a contract which re- 
duced our option from 350,000 acres of land to the 100,000 acres after- 
ward purchased by the company. 

While in California, I received a telegram from Mr. Blaisdell that 
Mr. George W. Anderson of Denver, the engineer selected by Mr. 
Forbes to examine the project, would meet me at Yuma on a certain 
date. I met Mr. Anderson at Yuma, in October, 1896, and went with 
him over the territory and over all our plans and profiles. He then re- 
turned to Denverwhile I proceeded to the City of Mexico to put up a few 
fences there that were somewhat broken down, and returned from the 


City of Mexico direct to New York in November, 1896, expecting, of 
course, as I knew the enthusiasm of Mr. Anderson over the project, 
that all that I would have to do would be to go to Boston, perfect the 
arrangements with Mr. Forbes, and then return to active construction 
work on the desert. 

When I reached Boston Mr. Anderson's report was there and was 
all that could have been hoped for ; in fact, his report was more glowing 
than the statements made in our prospectus ; but while Mr. Forbes paid 
for the report in accordance with the contract and afterward turned it 
over to us to be used as we might see fit, he did not take up the enter- 
prise ; the reason that he gave was the state of his health, while I knew 
that the real reason of his desiring to go into the enterprise in the first 
place was for the benefit of his sons. I doubted somewhat this state- 
ment, but never received proof that the statement given by him was not 
entirely correct until his death four months afterward, when I was told 
by one of his most intimate friends that the real reason why Forbes did 
not take up the enterprise was that at the time he sent Mr. Anderson to 
make his examination he also wrote a letter to a close personal friend 
of his in San Diego regarding the possibilities of development in the 
Colorado Desert, and received word in reply that the project was wild 
and utterly unfeasible ; that the country was so hot that no white man 
could possibly live in it ; that the lands were absolutely barren, consist- 
ing of nothing but sand and alkali ; and that any man who was foolish 
enough to put a dollar into that enterprise would surely lose it. I at- 
tempted to find out the name of Mr. Forbes' San Diego correspondent. 
I have been trying all these years to find out the name of that man, but 
so far have failed. I still have hopes to meet him. 

We were all, of course, very greatly disappointed by this failure. Mr. 
Blaisdell remained there during the winter, but had to leave in order to 
take up his Yuma work in the spring. I remained most of that time in 
Boston, Mr. Heber being in New York ; in fact I remained in Boston 
until August of the year 1897. During the summer of that year I spent 
the months of June and July in one of the Boston hospitals with the ty- 
phoid fever, but on my recovery I decided to make a trip to Europe in 
order to see if I could interest capital there. 

On the trip I had letters of introduction to various financial men of 
London, Scotland and Switzerland. I particularly desired to interest a 


firm of brokers in Glasgow who had been instrumental in furnishing 
funds for two irrigation enterprises in the northwest, but in as much as 
these enterprises had failed from the point of view of the foreign in- 
vestor, I found that to interview them on the subject was like shaking a 
red flag before a bull and that nothing could be accomplished. I then 
visited the home of a banker in the interior of Scotland, to whom I had 
personal letters from Mr. D. I. Russell, but on leaving the train at his 
town and inquiring for his residence, was shocked to learn that he had 
been found dead that morning, drowned in a little stream that flowed 
behind his house. I then returned to London expecting to leave at once 
for Basle, Switzerland, to take up negotiations with a gentleman there 
who had succeeded in financing two American enterprises of a similar 
nature, and from whom I have received letters previously that led me 
to hope that the money necessary for the development of our enter- 
prises could be found there. In reply to a telegram to ascertain if he 
could meet me on a certain date, I received word that he had died two 
weeks previously. 

I had in London met a firm of brokers who had years previously been 
somewhat connected with Mr. Heber in some of his operations in Kan- 
sas, and to whom Mr. Heber had given me letters of introduction. 
These gentlemen became so much interested in the proposition that, al- 
though I decided for several reasons to return to America, I left them 
working on it. Afterwards we received communications from them that 
led both Mr. Heber and myself to believe that the money could be se- 
cured through this source, but in the meantime I had opened negotia- 
tions for the funds required with Silas B. Dutcher, president of the 
Hamilton Trust Company, of Brooklyn, N. Y. Mr. Dutcher made a very 
careful examination of the enterprise extending over several weeks. It 
was passed upon by his attorneys and engineers and finally, on the 14th 
of February, 1898, Mr. Dutcher said to me: "Everything is all right, 
Mr. Rockwood. I have talked the matter over since obtaining the re- 
ports of our attorneys and engineers with the controlling directors of 
the trust company, who agree with me that it will be advisable for us to 
advance you the money, and, under the agreement outlined between us, 
we will put up the funds. It will be necessary, however, that our board 
shall formally agree to this, and this final formality will be gone through 
at our board meeting on Friday." 


At this time our treasury was empty, both Mr. Heber and myself had 
exhausted our private funds and we were exceedingly economical in 
our table, but I was so rejoiced at the decision of Dutcher, and, believ- 
ing without doubt that our financial troubles were over for the present, 
that I went back to New York and invited Heber out to a square meal, on 
which I think I spent at least one dollar. The next morning, however, we 
were confronted by glaring headlines that the Maine had been sunk the 
night previous in Havana harbor. I went over immediately to see Mr. 
Dutcher in order to ascertain what effect this might have upon our ne- 
gotiations and found, as supposed, that the deal was off. 

On account of the period of depression which then followed it was 
absolutely impossible to interest any large financial men in the enter- 
prise, and it was with exceeding difficulty that we got together sufficient 
funds to keep up our payment to Gen. Andrade and to keep our office 
doors open. We did, however, succeed in doing this, and later, in the 
summer of this year, we found it had again become necessary to make a 
new contract with Gen. Andrade for the reason that the old one was 
about to expire, and, as usual, I was deputized to obtain the new agree- 
ment, but before getting this agreement, it was deemed necessary for 
me to make a trip to the City of Mexico, and I left New York imme- 
diately before the beginning of war with Spain on the steamer Yucatan 
for Vera Cruz by way of Havana. As we were expecting war to be de- 
clared every day, people were loath to leave New York for Havana, 
and I remember there were only two other passengers on the steamer 
from New York, one of whom was interested in Havana, the other was 
going to the City of Mexico. We reached and left Havana, however, 
without mishap, although when we arrived there we were forbidden to 
land. All the Americans had left with the exception of Consul Gen. 
Lee, who, I believe, left the city three days afterward. 

It was on this trip to the City of Mexico that I found it necessary to 
organize the Sociedad de Terrenos y Irrigacion de la Baja California, 
now generally known to the people of the Imperial Valley as the Mexi- 
can company. The prevailing idea among the people is that this Mexican 
company was organized by the California Development Company as an 
inner ring for some ulterior purposes that might make the legal posi- 
tion of the California Development Company stronger as against any 
actions in the courts of the United States. As a matter of fact, this 



company was organized for the purpose of holding title to the lands in 
Lower California which had been purchased from Gen. Andrade by 
those interested in the California Development Company. 

T had attempted for two years with the help of Gen. Andrade and 
our attorneys in Mexico to obtain the right from the Mexican govern- 
ment for the California Development Company to hold these titles, but 
the decision of the Mexican officials and courts were finally against us, 
and it was on the advice of our attorneys in the City of Mexico that it 
would be absolutely necessary to hold title to these lands in a Mexican 
company that the Mexican company was formed. 

After perfecting this organization, I went from the City of Mexico 
to Los Angeles in order to take up with Gen. Andrade the question of a 
new contract, but found that I was up against a stone wall ; the gen- 
eral positively refused not only to grant my extension on the old con- 
tract, but refused as well to enter into a new one unless I should advance 
to him a sum of money which was absolutely beyond my power to pro- 
duce. I attempted to argue with the general that he was working against 
his own interests, but it seemed he had lost entire confidence in the abil- 
ity of myself and associates to carry through the enterprise and seemed 
to be absolutely fixed in his determination to grant no further conces- 
sions. As I knew, however, that our ability to carry through the enter- 
prise depended upon my ability to obtain possession of the Mexican 
lands and through them the right of way, I insisted that Gen. Andrade 
should make a new deal with me, and it became largely a question of 
will power, as the general remained fixed in his determination to grant 
no further concessions. I believe it took me about ninety days to obtain 
the new contract that meant the continuation of the life of the enter- 
prise, during which time I went to Gen. Andrade's office or to his hotel 
every day, until I verily believe he was forced to give me what I asked 
in order to get rid of me ; at any rate he has so stated since, but was 
gracious enough long before his death to tell me that it was exceedingly 
fortunate for him that I was so persistent. 

Having made the new arrangement with Andrade, I returned to New 
York, and, the correspondence from Tyndall & Monk, of London, the 
brokers to whom I previously referred, being of a nature which led Mr. 
Heber and myself to believe that these gentlemen were going to be able 
to furnish us with the funds, I immediately took steamer for London. 


This, I believe, was in September, 1898. After seeing the brokers in 
London and being assured by them that they would be able to furnish 
the money under certain conditions, I wired Mr. Heber to come on to 
London, and on his arrival we proceeded to draw up the form of bond 
and trust deed which, under the English procedure, required a very 
long time and was also exceedingly expensive. Having, however, gotten 
the work well under way, Mr. Heber returned to New York in Novem- 
ber of that year and I followed in December in order to perfect certain 
details in California that were necessary for the assurance of the pro- 
posed English investors. 

We supposed that everything was assured, but for some reason that 
I have never as yet been able to ascertain, that deal fell through, and in 
such a manner that we knew it was utterly useless to attempt to obtain 
any further assistance from the firm of Tyndall & Monk ; consequently 
our efforts were again devoted toward the obtaining of funds in Amer- 

We were now in the spring of 1899, our funds were exhausted and 
we hardly knew which way to turn. I was born in Michigan and had 
several wealthy and influential acquaintances in Detroit and its neigh- 
borhood, and Heber and I thought it best that I should visit Detroit 
and see what might be done there toward obtaining funds, but at this 
time we had no money with which to pay my traveling expenses until 
Mr. Heber solved the problem by raising $125 on his personal jewelry 
and gave me $100 of it with which to make the trip. 

In the troubles that arose between Mr. Heber and myself afterward 
this act has never been forgotten, and one of the greatest regrets of my 
life is that the ties of friendship with one capable of such self-sacri- 
ficing generosity should be strained and broken. 

In Detroit I succeeded in obtaining funds to the amount of a few 
hundred only, sufficient only to keep up our living expenses and to keep 
our office rent in New York paid. 

Mr. Heber, at this time, met in New York a friend from Chicago who 
had advanced him some money, and had succeeded in inducing Heber 
to return with him to Chicago on the belief that money might be ob- 
tained there to carry out the enterprise ; so Heber left New York for 
Chicago in the month of June, 1899, calling upon me in Detroit on his 
way through. His Chicago efforts, however, were not immediately sue- 



cessful, and just at this time I received a telegram from Ford & Com- 
pany, bankers of Boston, asking me if I would go to Porto Rico to re- 
port upon a sugar proposition which they owned there. They had de- 
cided to build a system of irrigation for their plantations and desired my 
report upon the feasibility of the plans of their engineer. They wired 
me that if I would go they would wire me money to come on to Boston 
and talk the matter over with them. As I was practically broke at the 
time, I immediately agreed to go, and received in reply sufficient funds 
to make the trip from Detroit to Boston. 

I proceeded immediately to Boston and made my financial arrange- 
ments with Ford & Company, who advanced me, in addition to my 
steamer transportation, a check for $250. I was loath to accept the 
check in lieu of cash (although I didn't say so to them) as it was after 
banking hours in Boston and I could not get the check cashed until I 
had reached New York, at which point I was to take steamer, and I 
doubted very much whether I would have sufficient money to pay my 
expenses through. I did, however, succeed in reaching New York that 
night, but was obliged to wait my breakfast the next morning until I 
could get Ford & Company's check cashed. 

I left this same day for Porto Rico by steamer, and after spending a 
couple of weeks on the plantation of Ford & Company, who, by the 
way, were the financial agents for the United States Government in the 
island, I left the plantations, which were on the southern side of the 
island, for the city of San Juan on the northern side in order to take 
the steamer again for New York. On my way across the island I de- 
cided to remain a couple of days in the town of Cayay to examine into 
a water proposition in that neighborhood that might be of interest to 
my Boston clients. It was there, on the night of August 7, 1899, that I 
experienced my first and only West Indian hurricane, which probably 
many people of this country still remember. In the small hotel where I 
was stopping my sleeping room was immediately off of the main living 
room. I was awakened about three o'clock in the morning by the rock- 
ing of the house and by the sound of weeping women and children in 
the outer room. Hurriedly dressing, I went to the outer room, and upon 
making inquiries as to the cause of the trouble, I found that I was in 
the beginning of what afterward proved to be the most disastrous hur- 
ricane that had visited the islands for a period of over two hundred 


years. The wind lasted from about three in the morning until two in the 
afternoon, at the end of which time the mountains surrounding the 
town, which the day previous had been a scene of beauty, covered with 
the vegetation and flowers of the tropics, were as brown as our Califor- 
nia hills in summer, and in Cayay, a town of 1200 inhabitants, but six 
buildings were left standing and but 800 people were left alive. On the 
island during the storm over 6000 were killed, the bodies of about half 
of whom were never recovered, having been swept out to sea or buried 
in the debris brought down by the mountain torrents. I was not in- 
jured by the storm, but during my efforts two days afterwards to reach 
San Juan, my clothing was practically destroyed, so that I reached New 
York looking more like a tramp than a prosperous promoter of an irri- 
gation enterprise. 

On my arrival in New York, I found that Mr. Heber was still in Chi- 
cago and that our New York office was being used by Mr. S. W. Fer- 
guson, who had come to New York again on interests not connected 
with the California Development Company, but it seems that he had 
been discussing the possibilities of our enterprise with a New York 
man to whom he introduced me. This scheme looked so favorable that 
I made another arrangement with Mr. Ferguson whereby he again be- 
came associated with the enterprise, although merely as an agent and 
not in a manner that allowed him in any way to control its future. 

Nothing came of the Ferguson negotiations in New York, but hav- 
ing received a communication from Mr. Heber that he was in close 
touch with capital in Chicago and advising me to come on to Chicago to 
help him with his negotiations there, I suggested that Mr. Ferguson in- 
stead of myself should go on to Chicago, as I believed that Ferguson 
could possibly render Heber equally as good assistance as I, and Fer- 
guson desired to return West to California anyway, while at the time I 
had opened negotiations with another financial concern in New York 
and the outlook was such that I deemed it inadvisable to leave. 

Mr. Ferguson then went to Chicago, but nothing came of these nego- 
tiations, and he proceeded to California. It was soon after this that Mr. 
Heber gave up his work with us, resigning as president of the California 
Development Company, to which position I was then elected. 

In the meantime I received a letter from Mr. Ferguson, who was 
then in San Francisco, telling me that he had had a long conversation 


with Mr. L. M. Holt and that Holt believed' that George Chaffey 
might be interested in the California Development Company. Mr. Fer- 
guson desired to go to Los Angeles and see Mr. Chaffey, and also re- 
quested me to draft a proposition that he might make to Chaffey. 

About a year previous, in conversation with Mr. N. W. Stowell, of 
Los Angeles, he informed me that the Chaffeys (whom many people of 
the State had known in connection with irrigation development around 
Ontario, and who had been for several years in similar work in Aus- 
tralia), were about to return to California, and that if I could interest 
the Chaffeys in the Colorado Desert enterprise they would be able to 
swing the financial end of the affair, even though they might not have 
sufficient ready coin themselves. 

On a succeeding trip to California after this conversation with Mr. 
Stowell, I believe it was in the month of May, 1899, I met Mr. George 
Chaffey and discussed very carefully with him the plans of the enter- 
prise, but didn't approach him for financial assistance, as at that time 
we believed that we were going to obtain all the funds necessary 
through the agency of Tyndall & Monk, of London. Having then al- 
ready discussed the project with Mr. Chaffey, I believed that it would 
be advisable for Mr. Ferguson to see him, and so wrote. He went to 
Los Angeles and as a result of his interview wrote me at New York, 
stating that negotiations were progressing very favorably and that on 
certain conditions Chaffey had agreed to come in, but refused to go 
any farther until he had talked over matters with me. On receipt of 
this letter I decided to come to California, and did so in December, 
1899, an d accompanied Mr. Chaffey on a trip to the Hanlon Heading, 
below Yuma, and over a portion of the Lower California end of the 
enterprise, but during the trip could see very plainly that Mr. Chaffey 
was not at all satisfied with the possibilities of the enterprise, due to the 
apparent belief in his mind that it would be exceedingly difficult, if not 
impossible, to get settlers with sufficient rapidity to make the concern a 
financial success. 

The only promise that I could obtain from Chaffey was that if we 
could devise a scheme whereby he could receive the assurance that 50,- 
000 acres of the desert land would be taken by bona fide settlers, that he 
would furnish the money necessary to carry the water from the Colo- 
rado River to these lands. I returned to San Francisco and discussed 


with Mr. Ferguson and San Francisco attorneys the plan which was 
afterward carried out, namely, the formation of a colonization com- 
pany which should undertake to find settlers to take up the desired 
acreage under the Desert Land Act. 

At my solicitation Mr. Ferguson returned to Los Angeles to work 
out the details of this plan with Mr. L. M. Holt and Chaffey, while I 
returned to New York to resume again my negotiations there with the 
financial concern with which I had been dealing for some time. I left 
with a promise to Ferguson and other associates that I would return to 
California whenever the plans which were outlined gave reasonable as- 
surance of success. 

In March, 1900, I received a wire jointly by Ferguson, Blaisdell and 
Heffernan, requesting me to return at once to California, and stating 
that George Chaffey was now sufficiently assured so that he was willing 
to take up the work. Upon receiving this wire, as I had again about lost 
hope in my New York negotiations, I arranged at once to close our 
New York office and return to California. Upon reaching Los Angeles, 
I found that Chaffey had drawn a contract that he was willing to enter 
into, exceedingly short, promising but little, and one that would tie me 
and the company to him. I was loath to enter into this contract but I 
was at the end of my rope; all negotiations had failed elsewhere; all 
of my own funds as well as that of several of my personal friends were 
tied up in the enterprise ; I had not sufficient money in sight to keep up 
the fight elsewhere, and as a forlorn hope and in the belief that it would 
at least start something moving whether I ever got anything out of it 
for myself or not, I agreed to the Chaffey contract and signed it as 
president of the California Development Company in April, 1900. 

In March of this year the Imperial Land Company had been formed 
for the purpose of undertaking the colonization of the lands. It was 
necessary to handle the colonization end of the enterprise either as a 
department of the California Development Company or through a new 
organization to be formed for that purpose. Four-fifths of the stock of 
the California Development Company had been used for various pur- 
poses, the other one-fifth of the stock, together with a portion of the 
stock that had already passed to the then present stockholders, was 
necessarily to be tied up in the contract with the Charley's; consequent- 
ly there was no stock in the California Development Company with 


which to satisfy Mr. Ferguson and the new blood that would be re- 
quired to handle the land and colonization end of the enterprise. 

Mr. Chaffey at that time desired to have nothing to do with the land 
and colonization end, consequently it seemed best, in order to provide 
means and capital for the handling of the land, to organize an entirely 
separate company. The Imperial Land Company was then organized and 
afterward entered into a contract with the California Development 
Company whereby it was to make all the necessary land surveys, do 
all of the advertising, incur all of the expenses of colonization, and was 
to receive in remuneration a certain percentage of the gross sales to be 
derived from the sale of all water stock in the United States or lands in 

It was agreed between the two companies that the Imperial Land 
Company should also be allowed to acquire and own the townsites in 
the Valley, and that the work of the California Development Company 
should then be confined to furnishing water. 

We decided, at that time, after mature deliberation and consultation 
with our attorneys, upon the plan which we afterward followed, name- 
ly, that of the organization of mutual water companies to which the 
California Development Company would wholesale water at a given 
price. We believed that for any one company to undertake to distribute 
water to the individual users over such an area would be unfeasible. In 
the first inception of the scheme it was proposed to divide the entire 
country into water districts, although the final plan of the mutual water 
companies was not worked out until the spring of 1900. 

After the signing of the Chaffey contract in April, 1900, we were 
then ready to begin the field operations, but it was necessary for me to 
return to New York in May of that year to hold the annual meeting of 
the California Development Company. Previous to this trip, however, 
I engaged the services of Mr. C. N. Perry, who had been with me on 
my work in the Yakima country in 1890, and who had accompanied me 
to Yuma when I came there in September, 1892, and who had been with 
me and had been largely instrumental in developing the surveys and 
plans during the years of 1892 and 1893, after which time Mr. Perry 
had remained in Los Angeles in the office of the county surveyor and 
city engineer, but at my solicitation left that employ in order to take up 
again the work in the Colorado Desert, which name we had decided to 
change to Imperial Valley. 


Mr. Perry began his work at Flowing Well in the middle of April, 
1900, running a line from that point south with the hope of finding suf- 
ficient government corners of the survey of 1854-1856 to allow him to 
retrace the old government lines. He was unable at this time to find any 
authentic corners north of the fourth parallel, but found nearly all of 
the corners of what is called the Brunt Survey, south of the fourth 
parallel, which survey was made in the year 1880. Brunt, in his notes, 
showed certain connections made with the surveys of 1856 on the fourth 
parallel, and upon the reasonable assumption that the sworn statement 
of Brunt was true, Mr. Perry projected the lines to the north of the 
fourth parallel, using as a basis the field notes for the townships north 
together with the Brunt stakes found on the south. He soon discovered, 
however, that something was wrong, just what he was unable to tell. 
I, in the meantime, was in New York, but Mr. Ferguson being on the 
ground authorized and ordered him to proceed with the survey as then 
outlined, with the assurance that if anything was wrong that a Con- 
gressional Act would afterward be obtained to make it right. 

On my return from New York in June I had no time to devote to at- 
tempting to straighten out the surveys of the Valley, as it was neces- 
sary for someone to proceed at once to the City of Mexico to obtain 
concessions that would allow us to commence construction in Mexico. 
As I was the only one connected with the company that had any ac- 
quaintance in Mexico, and so far had handled the Mexican business, I 
was the one naturally deputized to undertake that work, and proceeded 
at once to the City of Mexico, returning to California in October of 
that year, and in the following month, November, came to the Valley, 
camping at Cameron Lake, and commenced the engineering surveys 
upon which the present system of distribution is based, and also began 
in December, 1900, with Mr. Thomas Beach, as superintendent, the 
great work of construction of the Imperial Canal system. 

The only water in the Valley at that time was at Blue Lake, Cameron 
Lake and at the Calf Holes in New River, northwest of the townsite of 
Imperial. The few teams we had were camped at Cameron Lake and, 
for a while, they went from Cameron Lake, a distance of three miles, 
to their work ; afterward we had to haul water to the outfits in the field, 
until finally the waters at Cameron Lake became so low and so thick 
with fish and mud that it was impossible for stock or man to use it. 


Fortunately, however, some depressions and holes, farther south, in 
Mexico, had been filled up by rains, and we were able to obtain suffi- 
cient water for stock uses from these holes. 

Under the agreement entered into with Mr. George Chaffey, he per- 
sonally was under no obligation to build the canals in the State of Cali- 
fornia. Under his contract he was only to bring water from the Colora- 
do River through to the International Line, at a point east of Calexico. 

Imperial Water Company Number i had been formed, settlers were 
coming in in large numbers, and the Imperial Land Company, under Mr. 
Ferguson's management, in connection with the Mutual Water Com- 
pany, was to find all of the funds necessary for the construction of 
the distributary system. Outside funds, however, were not forthcom- 
ing. The process of lifting ourselves by our bootstraps was not entirely 
successful. We were selling water stock on the basis of $8.75 a share, 
payable $1.00 down, the remainder $1.00 per year, and this $1.00 had 
to go to the Imperial Land Company to pay for its actual expenses in 
advertising and the expenses it was necessarily put to in bringing the 
people into the Valley, consequently there was nothing left for construc- 
tion. Mr. Chaffey had, however, advanced some money for this purpose 
and, at my earnest solicitation, a new agreement was entered into 
whereby the responsibilities for the construction of the distributary 
system was taken from the Imperial Land Company and placed upon 
the California Development Company. 

The work that we were doing at that time in colonization was very 
large. I doubt if it has ever been equaled under any irrigation project, 
but with insufficient funds for construction in sight, every share of 
water stock sold increased our financial difficulties, as it necessitated 
the placing of water upon lands within a given period of time, and with 
no money in sight to do the work. This condition of affairs obtained 
through the first four years of struggle of the California Development 

Every means possible was tried, from time to time, to bring in funds. 
Water stocks were sold at a ridiculously low figure in wholesale lots to 
those who made large profits therefrom. The majority of people be- 
lieve that these profits went to the California Development Company, 
but to my own knowledge no stockholder in the California Develop- 
ment Company has ever received one dollar in dividends, and every 


dollar received by the California Development Company from the sale 
of water stocks has gone directly into the construction of the canal sys- 
tem, and yet, due to the fact that we were improperly financed and 
were obliged continuously to make tremendous sacrifices in order to 
obtain funds, the funds obtained were never sufficient to carry on the 
work and to keep up with the contracts entered into for the delivery of 

I had, in the month of May, 1900, just previous to my trip to New 
York, gained information the truth of which I could not doubt, that led 
me to believe that friction was sure to arise between Mr. Ferguson and 
myself, and also led me to doubt as to whether the management of the 
affairs of the Imperial Land Company under him could be successful, 
and if unsuccessful, I knew that the California Development Company 
could not succeed. At my solicitation then, Mr. Heber met me in Chi- 
cago on my way East and I attempted to induce him to give up his work 
in Wyoming with Mr. Emerson and again join us in the work of de- 
velopment of what we had now named the Imperial Valley. This, how- 
ever, Mr. Heber declined to do at the time, stating that he was making 
money with Emerson, and that he would lose financially by making a 
change. Later in the year, however, in November, 1900, Mr. Heber 
made a visit to the coast, and as his affairs in Wyoming were then in a 
condition so that he could leave them, he decided to again become ac- 
tively interested in the development of the Valley, but didn't at that 
time become connected with the management. He, however, succeeded 
in bringing some Eastern money in, which materially assisted us, and, 
in the spring of 1901 he joined us actively and permanently in the work, 
becoming a little later the second vice-president of the California De- 
velopment Company and the general manager of the Imperial Land 
Company in place of Mr. Ferguson. 

In June, 1901, the Chaff eys obtained possession of 2500 shares of the 
stock of the California Development Company, and as soon as they ob- 
tained possession of this stock they refused to go ahead with the work 
under the old contract and demanded that a new contract should be 
made that would give to them the control of the company's stock. We 
refused to accede to this and they then outlined a scheme of a holding 
company into which the control of the stock should be placed. This we 
also refused, but demanded that they go ahead under their original con- 



tract. These negotiations extended over several months of time, in fact 
during the entire summer of 1901. 

In September of that year, my personal relations with the Chaffeys 
having become somewhat strained, I broke off negotiations with them 
and left for the State of Washington to look after certain property in- 
terests I had there, returning to Los Angeles in the latter end of Octo- 
ber. When I left I had given my power of attorney to Mr. E. A. 
Meserve of Los Angeles granting to him the power to sign my name to 
any document or contract that might be entered into with the Chaffeys, 
providing only that Messrs. Heber, Blaisdell and Heffernan should be 
a unit in their desire that such a contract should be made. On my return, 
to my consternation and chagrin I found that the Delta Investment 
Company had been formed ; that under the contract entered into be- 
tween the Delta Investment Company and the California Development 
Company, the Delta Investment Company had been appointed the finan- 
cial agent of the California Development Company, with power to buy 
its bonds at 50 cents on the dollar, with power to buy in all of its mort- 
gages at 50 cents on the dollar ; that the assets of the Delta Investment 
Company consisted solely and only of stock in the California Develop- 
ment Company contributed by the Chaffeys and Heber, and the stock 
of the Imperial Land Company, that through these holdings the Delta 
Investment Company controlled the California Development Company, 
and that the Chaffeys, controlling the Delta Investment Company, ab- 
solutely controlled the California Development Company; that the Del- 
ta Investment Company had also succeeded in my absence, by simply 
exchanging stocks, in buying up practically all of the stock of the Im- 
perial Land Company. As soon as I looked over the contract, I called 
together Messrs. Heber, Blaisdell and Heffernan to find out why such 
a contract had been entered into, and ascertained that neither Blaisdell 
nor Heffernan had paid any particular attention to a study of the con- 
tract ; they hadn't seen where it would land them ; they had not been 
very actively interested in the business end of the California Develop- 
ment Company, but had left their interests largely in the hands of Mr. 
Heber and myself, and that in my absence they had acceded to Mr. 
Heber's request that they should sign this agreement ; they had believed 
it was for the best interest of the company. Mr. Heber so believed, and 
stated to me at the time that he had drawn the plan of the Delta In- 



vestment Company and that he believed that it would work out all right. 
I wasn't satisfied, however, and as the after history, which was very 
rapidly enacted, showed, my predictions in regard to the Delta Invest- 
ment Company were correct. 

My feelings toward the Chaffeys was at this time of a nature that 
would hardly permit me to return to the Valley in active charge of the 
construction even had Mr. Chaffey so desired, which evidently he did 
not, as he himself took the title of chief engineer and made his head- 
quarters at Calexico during the winter of 1901 and 1902, and assumed 
direct charge of construction. Money was immediately forthcoming for 
construction purposes, but money through the Delta Investment Com- 
pany cost the California Development Company $2.00 for every dollar 
that it obtained, and I soon saw the end unless something was done. 

I did not enter into negotiations with the Chaffeys at that time, but, 
using Mr. Heber as an intermediary, I notified the Chaffeys that unless 
things were put in a different shape immediately that the whole matter 
would be thrown into the courts, although I foresaw that this would 
necessarily stop the work of development in the Valley. But I had not 
only the interest of the settlers of the Valley to look out for, but I con- 
sidered even as a prior and superior lien upon my efforts the interest of 
the stockholders who had invested their money in the California De- 
velopment Company through me. The final result of this action was that 
negotiations were opened with the Chaffeys for the purchase of their in- 
terests in the company, resulting in the elimination of the Chaffeys from 
the management of the company in February, 1902. 

Before this purchase was consummated, however, and the manage- 
ment of affairs turned back to its original owners, the Chaffeys, who 
were in control of the California Development Company and in control 
of the board of the Delta Investment Company, passed certain resolu- 
tions and made certain transfers that took from the California Develop- 
ment Company all of its bonds and a very large portion of its notes and 
mortgages, and in order to carry through the purchase we not only paid 
over to the Chaffeys, in addition to all of the securities of the company 
which they had taken, the sum of $25,000 in cash, raised not by the 
company but by individual stockholders in the company, and in addition 
we gave them our note for $100,000, secured by a majority of stock in 
the California Development Company. 


We started out then, about the first of March, 1902, with our bonds 
all gone, our mortgages largely depleted, not a dollar in the treasury, 
and invidually so deeply in debt to the Chaffeys that it was exceedingly 
doubtful whether we would ever be able to pull out. 

We, however, took over the management of the enterprise and in 
order to provide funds for construction we succeeded in borrowing 
$25,000 from the First National Bank of Los Angeles, and I again took 
charge of construction. 

In the deal made with the Chaffeys and the Delta Investment Com- 
pany, at this time, their personal interest in the stock of the California 
Development Company and of the Imperial Land Company was pur- 
chased by Heber, Blaisdell, Heffernan and Rockwood, of the old guard, 
and by Messrs. F. C. Paulin, J. W. Oakley and H. C. Oakley, who had 
been very active as outside agents under the Imperial Land Company, 
and who at this time became directly interested with us as owners of 
one-half of the stock of the Imperial Land Company, and of a smaller 
percentage of the stock of the California Development Company. Mr. 
Paulin became the manager of the Imperial Land Company, Mr. Heber 
being its president as well as president of the California Development 

As I said in a previous paragraph, under the agreement entered into 
by the Imperial Land Company and the California Development Com- 
pany, the Imperial Land Company was to have the townsites in the 
Valley, the California Development Company restricting its activities 
to furnishing water to the lands. It may be of interest to know some- 
thing regarding the townsites and why they came to be placed in the lo- 
cations which they now occupy. 

On my return from the City of Mexico in October, 1900, I found 
that the then manager of the Imperial Land Company, Mr. S. W. Fer- 
guson, had selected for the site of what we intended to be the central 
town of the Valley, the lands now occupied by the town of Imperial. It 
had been decided before that this town, when laid out, should be given 
the name of Imperial, corresponding to the name that we had given to 
the Valley. Personally, I objected very seriously to the location that 
had been selected for two reasons, first, that the character of the soil 
was of such nature that it would be difficult to produce the flowers and 
shrubbery which residents of the Valley would naturally desire to put 


about their homes ; second, I knew that any branch road reaching Im- 
perial from the main line of the Southern Pacific track would necessar- 
ily pass for several miles north of the town through a country that for 
years would remain undeveloped. I refer here especially to the rough 
and salt lands between Imperial and Brawley. I knew that in as much 
as all strangers coming into the Valley would pass over this land that 
the impression must be a bad one, and for these two reasons I urged 
that as not more than twenty lots had been sold at that time in the pro^ 
posed new townsite, that it should be moved to a location which would 
have placed it one and a half miles north of what is now the town of El 
Centro. Had this been done at the time the opportunity would never 
have existed for a competitive town in the neighborhood of Imperial. 
The railroad would have been thrown farther to the east, coming 
through the highly cultivated area in the Mesquite Bottom, and the fac- 
tional strifes and difficulties which have arisen through the establish- 
ment of El Centro would never have existed, and instead of two fight- 
ing communities in the center of the Valley today, we would probably 
have a town of between three and four thousand people that would now 
be recognized by the outside world as one of the coming cities of Cali- 
fornia, and the bitterness engendered by the establishment of El Centro 
would have been obviated. 

The town of Silsbee was selected on account of its location on the 
shore of Blue Lake, which previous to the overflow of the Colorado 
River gave the opportunity for the establishment of a very beautiful 
town and resort in the Valley. The town was given its name from the 
original owner of the lands, Thomas Silsbee. 

Calexico, which derives its name from a combination of California 
and Mexico, simply happened. The engineering headquarters of the 
company were first established at Cameron Lake, but I decided for 
permanent quarters to erect the company buildings at the international 
line on the east bank of the New River. When the buildings were estab- 
lished at this point we knew that we would build a town on the line, but 
its exact location was not fully determined upon. Mr. Chaffey laid off 
the town of Calexico at the point where it is now established in the fall 
of 1901, and placed the property on the market, but it was soon with- 
drawn from sale for the reason that the Southern Pacific Railroad, in 
building the branch through the Valley, desired to run straight south 



from Imperial to a point near the international line, from which point 
they would swing eastward toward Yuma. The railroad would have 
been so built and the town of Calexico would then have been located to 
the west of New River and about two miles west of its present loca- 
tion but for the fact that it would have thrown a portion of the town- 
site on a school section which was held by a lady living in Los Angeles 
who refused to listen to what we believed to be a fair offer for her 
property, and as we were unable to obtain the lands necessary for our 
uses we got the Southern Pacific to run the road from Imperial straight 
to the present location of Calexico. 

The townsite of Brawley was not, in the first place, controlled by the 
Imperial Land Company. The Imperial Water Company No. 4 had been 
organized and the major portion of its stock sold in a block to J. H. 
Braly, a banker of Los Angeles, who had undertaken the colonization 
of this tract of land. In the agreement with him he was to have the right 
to locate a townsite within the tract. Afterward, before the town was 
started, the properties owned by Mr. Braly were re-purchased by the 
Imperial Land Company and the Oakley-Paulin Company, and the town 
was laid out on its present location. Mr. Heber desired to name the 
town Braly in honor of Mr. J. H. Braly, but as the latter refused to have 
his name used in connection with the town, it was named Brawley, in 
honor of a friend of Mr. Heber's in Chicago. 

The townsite of Holtville was selected by Mr. W. F. Holt and laid 
out by him under an agreement between himself and the Imperial Land 

The history of El Centro is so recent in the minds of the people that 
it is not necessary to refer to it here except to say that these lands were 
originally selected as a townsite by Mr. W. F. Holt, and he gave at that 
time to the town the name of Carbarker. The Imperial Land Company, 
realizing that the establishment of a town at this point would not only 
injure its property in Imperial, but would also injure the investment of 
the many people who had already purchased property at that point, 
made a contract with Mr. Holt whereby it agreed to buy from him the 
lands on which Carbarker was located, and the townsite of Holtville as 
well. The Imperial Land Company, after paying many thousands of 
dollars on this contract, found that it was unable to carry out its con- 
tract on account of the depression due to the agitations in the year 


1904-05, and it made a new contract with Mr. Holt whereby it agreed 
to turn back to him the townsite of Holtville and the lands on which 
Carbarker had been located on condition that the establishing of a town 
at the latter point should be abandoned. 

The townsite of Heber was named in honor of Mr. A. H. Heber. 

Water was turned into the No. 1 main canal for irrigation in March, 
1902, and we succeeded in obtaining some funds so that the work on 
construction continued actively during that season, but, confronted as 
we were with the tremendous load of the Chaffeys, the fact that our 
bonds had been removed without sufficient consideration being placed 
in the treasury to allow rapid construction, we were very greatly ham- 
pered through all of the years 1902 and 1903, and it was impossible to 
obtain sufficient money to keep up the work of construction rapidly 
enough to meet the demands for water, notwithstanding the fact that 
we were willing to, and did, sacrifice our securities and our water stock 
in order to obtain funds to meet the pressing needs. 

We had a great deal of trouble with the wooden head gate which had 
been built by Mr. Chaffey at Hanlon's, the floor of which, unfortunate- 
ly, had been left several feet above the bottom grade line of the canal as 
originally planned by me. When this gate was built by Mr. Chaffey, it 
wasn't considered as a permanent gate but as a temporary expedient 
placed there to control the entrance of water into the canal during the 
summer of 1901, and it was Mr. Chaff ey's intention to replace this by a 
permanent structure as soon as time and finances would permit. This 
gate was well and substantially built, and had its floor been placed five 
feet lower, the probabilities are that it could be used safely today for the 
control of all water at present required in the Valley. 

Due to the fact that the floor was left above grade, we found it nec- 
essary, in the falls of 1902, 1903 and 1904, to cut a by-pass around ! the 
gate to the river, and it was through this by-pass then, during these 
three years, that water was obtained at low water for the irrigation of 
the Valley. 

It was our desire at all times, after taking over the enterprise from 
the Chaffeys, to construct a permanent gate on the site where it was 
afterward built in the winter of 1905-1906, but we were unable to ob- 
tain the large amount required and were forced, through lack of funds, 
to the expedient of leaving this open channel around the gate to be 



closed on the approach of the summer flood. The channel was success- 
fully closed against the approaching summer flood in the summers of 
1902, 1903 and 1904. In the winter of 1903-1904 there was a very serious 
shortage of water in the Valley, due to the fact that the main canal, 
built by Mr. Chaffey, had not been constructed to its required depth, 
and with the machinery and funds at hand we were unable to increase 
the water supply fast enough to keep up with the demands of the Val- 
ley, and the water in the river fell exceedingly low in the spring of 
1904, and made it impossible for us to obtain sufficient water through 
the main canal for the uses of the people, with the result that consider- 
able damage was done. The actual amount of damage, however, was 
but a very small proportion of the damage claims, as is evidenced by 
the fact that while these claims, amounting to over $500,000, were set- 
tled every one of them out of court in the year 1905 by a payment of 
less than $35,000, paid entirely in water and water stocks, and I believe 
that every claim was fairly settled. 

These claims, however, had been very greatly exaggerated, due pos- 
sibly to the natural antagonism of any people living under a large water 
system toward the company controlling their source of supply ; due, 
also, to the fact that since the passage of the Reclamation Act in June, 
1902, and the starting of the Yuma project later by the reclamation ser- 
vice, the people of the Valley had gotten into their heads the belief that 
if the California Development Company could be removed, that the 
reclamation service could be gotten to take up the work ; that the entire 
enterprise would then be backed by the government with unlimited 
funds at its command and that the people would be obliged to pay to 
the government but a small portion of the moneys that they were 
obliged to pay to the California Development Company, and that they 
would eventually through that means achieve the very laudable desire 
of owning their own system. Undoubtedly the engineers of the reclama- 
tion service, who had made several trips, individually and as a body, 
into the Valley, desired to foment this belief, as it had been their inten- 
tion from the formation of the reclamation service to bring water into 
the Imperial Valley. 

It was necessary for the reclamation service, in order to obtain abso- 
lute control of the waters of the Colorado River, to do away with this 
great prior appropriator, the California Development Company, whose 



work, if carried through to success, would cover, in one body, more 
than half of the irrigable land on the Colorado watershed. That it was 
the intention of the reclamation service to bring water into the Valley 
as early as December, 1902, is evidenced by the sworn testimony of Mr. 
J. B. Lippincott, supervising engineer, U. S. R. S., given in the case of 
the Colorado Delta Canal Company vs. the United States Government, 
which is a matter of court record. 

The reclamation service had contemplated the construction of a ser- 
ies of high-impounding dams on the Colorado River, but through sound- 
ings, finding no bed rock, they were obliged to abandon this project, but 
finally, during the year 1903, outlined the plan of the Yuma project and 
the Laguna Dam. 

The engineers of the reclamation service advanced the theory that 
no canal from the Colorado River could be a permanent success except 
that a diversion dam across the river be constructed which would raise 
the water and would allow them by means of the sluicing head that it 
would give, to wash out the silt that would drop in the canal. Not only 
then would the continuance in successful operation of the Imperial 
Canal disprove their theory that a dam was necessary and thereby ques- 
tion the necessity of the expenditure of the amount of money that the 
Laguna Dam would cost. But the cost of the Laguna Dam was to be so 
great that it would put too great a burden on the farmers unless they 
could gain possession of the Imperial enterprise, and by so doing carry 
the Imperial Canal to the Laguna Dam, and thereby make the farmers 
of the Imperial Valley pay the major portion of the cost of that work. 

The reclamation service then, in this year of trouble, 1904, advised 
the people of the Imperial Valley that if they desired the government to 
come in, it would be necessary for them to form a water users' associa- 
tion, and through it make the necessary petitions to the government. It 
would also be necessary in some way to get possession of the plant of 
the California Development Company or to ignore them. In order to ig- 
nore them, if possible, surveys were projected by the reclamation ser- 
vice with the idea of keeping the canal entirely in the United States, but 
it was found, according to their estimates, that to do so would cost at 
least twelve million dollars more than to follow the route of the Impe- 
rial Canal through Mexico ; that, consequently, it was not feasible. 

It was at this time, in the summer of 1904, harassed by lack of 




. 1 ( 

i • '■ • 1 1 

i ■ 



ft I 



funds, by damage claims piling up against us for failure to deliver wa- 
ter, by suits being threatened in every direction, by statements emanat- 
ing through the reclamation service, that we had no right to take water 
from the Colorado River on account of its being a navigable stream, 
that we decided that if the reclamation service desired to enter the Val- 
ley that^we would sell to it all of our rights and interests, provided that 
we could obtain an amount that we considered commensurate with the 
value of the proposition. Mr. Heber, as the president and financial agent 
of the company, went to Washington in order to undertake these nego- 
tiations and the engineers of the reclamation service went over the en- 
tire plant of the California Development Company in order to estimate 
its value. Mr. Heber and the reclamation service, however, were far 
apart in their ideas of value, inasmuch as the reclamation service be- 
lieved that the only, remuneration that should be received by the stock- 
holders of the California Development Company was the amount that 
would be required to duplicate this system. They were unwilling to take 
into consideration that in this, as in every new enterprise, the securities 
of the enterprise must be sold at a very great reduction below par ; that 
in the building of such an enterprise the original cost must be far in 
excess of what it would be when the project is partially completed. 
They were unwilling to allow any consideration for the rights and fran- 
chises which we had obtained. They were unwilling to allow anything 
for the Alamo Channel, which had been purchased by us and used as a 
canal and which had saved at least one million dollars in the construc- 
tion of the system. It is possible that ,we might, at that time, however, 
have gotten together on some basis of settlement with the reclamation 
service, but that, unfortunately, the relations between Mr. Heber and 
the service became so strained that it was impossible to carry on nego- 
tiations and the whole deal was declared off by the reclamation service 
arriving at the conclusion that no law existed whereby they would be 
able to carry water through, Mexico ; at any rate, this is the reason given 
for breaking off negotiations. 

Not only was our work greatly retarded and handicapped by the atti- 
tude of the reclamation service, which made the people of the Valley 
antagonistic to us, destroying our credit with the banks of Southern 
California and in the larger financial markets of the United States, but 
other departments of the government as well, from the very inception 



of the enterprise, instead of rendering us the assistance which we had 
every reason to expect we would receive from the government, retarded 
our progress and at times made it nearly impossible to carry through 
our work. I do not claim that this has been intentional on the part of any 
department of the government, with the exception of the reclamation 
service,; but that it has been due to the dilatory tactics of the govern- 
ment or to the fact that it has sent inexperienced men to undertake work 
of very great importance; but no matter what the reason may be, the 
effect upon the welfare of the Imperial Valley and the welfare of the 
California Development Company has been very disastrous. 

I refer in this especially to two things : first, to soil surveys made by 
the agricultural department in the winter of 1901-1902. The field work 
preceding this report was made by a young man by the name of Garnett 
Holmes. Mr. Means, his superior officer, came to me in Los Angeles in 
the summer of 1901, and stated that he desired to send a man to the 
Valley in the fall of the year to make a study of the soils and report 
upon the same ; and requested my co-operation, which I very readily 
gave, as I believed that such a report from the government would ma- 
terially assist us in our work in the Valley. But as many of the early 
settlers know, the issuance of the report for the time entirely stopped 
immigration into the Valley and very nearly bankrupted the California 
Development Company, as it, by destroying the faith of investors in the 
Valley, destroyed for the time being the credit of the company. The re- 
port gave the impression that the larger portion of the Valley was un- 
fit for cultivation, and particularly warned the people who were intend- 
ing to settle here to be exceedingly careful in their selection of land, and 
expressed a very serious doubt as to the ultimate future of the Valley, 
due to the belief of the writer that the alkalies would rise to the sur- 
face and would destroy all plant life. Mr. Holmes made statements that 
in certain lands, near the townsite of Imperial, barley would not ger- 
minate due to the alkali. On this same land large crops have been pro- 
duced every year since, and, fortunately, people have finally forgotten 
the report or have lost faith in the accuracy and knowledge of the gov- 
ernment investigators ; but at the time the blow to us was a very serious 
one. Also, in our work we have been constantly hampered by the atti- 
tude of the land department, although it is my belief from personal in- 
tercourse with the officials in Washington that the desire of the depart- 


ment is to straighten out the surveys as soon as compatible with the red 
tape of the government, and not unjustly burden our people. 

I referred before in this article to the basis that we assumed for the 
surveys projected to the north of the fourth parallel and the reason for 
taking as that basis the Brunt surveys to the south of that parallel. It 
was not until these surveys had been projected far to the north and 
work had begun on the retracing of the lines to the east of the Alamo 
River that we discovered wherein lay the real trouble with the surveys, 
by finding one of the old monuments of the survey of 1854, the finding 
of which showed wherein the Imperial land survey was wrong. Upon 
discovering wherein lay the error in the land company's survey, we 
immediately put several parties in the field searching for the old monu- 
ments of the surveys of '54 and '56, but in an area of thirty townships 
we found but five of the old corners that could be sworn to as authentic. 
These corners, separated as they were over such a large area, showed' 
that very great errors existed in the original survey ; for instance, be- 
tween the third and fourth parallels, a distance, according to the gov- 
ernment surveys, of twenty-four miles, we found the actual distance to 
be approximately twenty-five and a quarter miles ; that is, the govern- 
ment had made an error of a mile and a quarter in running a distance 
of twenty-four miles north and south. East and west across the Valley 
in a distance of thirty miles the error was relatively the same, or ap- 
proximately two miles. It was manifestly impossible to trace the old 
lines and to reset the old corners, and it became necessary to either get 
the government to make a resurvey or else obtain an act of Congress 
adopting the surveys of the Imperial Land Company. Could the latter 
policy have been carried through, it would have done away with many 
of the difficulties and troubles that have existed since, but we found that 
that was impossible. Mr. Heber and I went to Washington in June, 
1902, taking with us all of our maps showing all of the surveys that had 
been projected by the Imperial Land Company, so that we might place 
before the land department the exact condition of affairs in the Valley. 
We were informed by the commissioner of the general land office that 
no precedent existed, and that there was no law by which they could 
make a new survey without a special act of Congress. Although it was 
very late in the session and Congress was to adjourn in July, we suc- 
ceeded in having the act passed during that session which authorized 



the resurvey of the lands in the Imperial Valley. The act was passed in 
July, 1902 ; it is now the month of April, 1909, and the work of the gov- 
ernment to straighten out the surveys covering less than twenty town- 
ships of land is not yet completed. Except for the cumbersome machin- 
ery and red tape of the government, there is probably no reason why 
these surveys should not have all been completed during the year 1904. 
Had this been done, the story of the Imperial Valley today would prob- 
ably be very different from what it is now, as the people would have 
gotten their titles and, having their titles, they would have been able to 
obtain sufficient funds for the development of the lands where now they 
find it impossible to obtain money ; consequently, the work of develop- 
ment is necessarily greatly retarded. 

It was early in the year 1905 that negotiations for the purchase of the 
property by the reclamation service were ended and we were then con- 
fronted with an empty treasury, the hostility of the people in the Val- 
ley, and much work that it was necessary to do for the safety and per- 
manency of the system, and to fulfill our agreement with the various 
companies in the Valley. 

The banks absolutely refused to extend us any further credit and 
were clamoring for the repayment of moneys already loaned, and it 
seemed to us at this time that there was but one logical source from 
which we could hope to obtain sufficient funds to carry on the work, 
and this source must necessarily be one which was equally interested 
with ourselves in the development of the territory, namely, the Southern 
Pacific Railroad. 

Mr. Heber returning at this time from Washington, the question was 
taken up and discussed with him and he approached the subject of a 
loan to Mr. J. K. Krutschnitt, director and manager of operation of the 
Harriman lines, but was turned down by him. He afterward, however, 
succeeded in obtaining an interview with Mr. Harriman, and at Mr. 
Harriman's request, Krutschnitt authorized the officials of the road in 
San Francisco to take the matter up for investigation and report to 
him. After investigating they offered to loan us the $200,000, for which 
we had asked, on condition that two-thirds of the stock of the company 
should be placed in trust to secure to them the voting control and man- 
agement of the company until the loan had been repaid. Mr. Heber re- 
fused to agree to this proposition except it be agreed that he would be 



retained in the management ; but the Southern Pacific positively refused 
to advance the money unless Mr. Heber should retire from the manage- 
ment. Notwithstanding the friction that had arisen on business and 
personal matters between Mr. Heber and myself, I had great faith in 
his ability as an executive, and in his ability to handle the land and col- 
onization of the Valley; but I also believed, as did my other associates 
with the exception of Mr. Heber, that unless money could be obtained 
quickly from some source the company would soon be thrown into 
bankruptcy. Consequently, Mr. Blaisdell, Dr. Heffernan and myself 
went to San Francisco in April, 1905, and in an interview with Messrs. 
Calvin, Hood and Herrin of the Southern Pacific, succeeded in getting 
them to agree to lend to the California Development Company $200,000, 
on condition that we should succeed, at the annual meeting of the com- 
pany to be held in Jersey City early in June, in placing on the board 
three men to be named by them, one of whom should be selected as the 
president and general manager of the company ; also precedent to the 
loan, that we were to place in the hands of a trustee to be named by 
the Southern Pacific 6300 shares of the capital stock out of a total of 

Mr. Heber was not at the time informed of these negotiations. He 
left for Jersey City in May in order to hold the annual meeting in June, 
and I went east during the same month. The result of the annual meet- 
ing was that we succeeded in doing that which we had undertaken to 
do, and as a final result the management of the company was turned 
over to the Southern Pacific on the 20th day of June. 

The Southern Pacific officials named as their representatives on the 
California Development's board, Mr. Epes Randolph, Mr. George A. 
Parkyns, and Mr. R. H. Ingram, and the members of the board named 
by the California Development Company were under the contract made 
satisfactory to the Southern Pacific. 

It was the desire of Messrs. Blaisdell, Heffernan and myself that Mr. 
Epes Randolph, in whose integrity and ability we had the utmost confi- 
dence, should become the president of the company, and as this seemed 
to be satisfactory to the San Francisco officials, he was so selected. 

It was not at the time stipulated that I should be retained as an 
officer of the company. In fact, on account of the serious difficulties that 
had arisen between Mr. Heber and myself, I doubted very much wheth- 


er it was good policy for the company to retain me actively in the man- 
agement of its affairs. This whole question was broached to Mr. Ran- 
dolph and he was left with entire freedom to decide as he might see 
fit. He decided, however, that as neither he nor any of the Southern 
Pacific officials knew anything in regard to the affairs of the California 
Development Company, that it would be necessary to retain me in the 
position that I afterward filled, namely, that of assistant general man- 

In June, 1905, the break in the Colorado River was a source of great 
alarm, not only with the people in the Valley, but was becoming so to 
ourselves. As I have already stated, there was a serious shortage of 
water "in the Valley in the winter season of 1903-04. There had been 
some trouble with the silting of the first four miles of the main canal 
below the Chaffey gate, due to the fact that it had not as yet been exca- 
vated to a sufficient depth ; and also that Mr. Chaffey, instead of build- 
ing the canal on the alignment originally planned by me, had followed 
excavation of a few yards of material in the tortuous channel of an old 
slough which left in the canal many sharp bends that not only retarded 
the velocity of the water, but caused, at times, serious erosion of the 
banks and a consequent deposit of sediment. 

With the machinery at our command and which we could purchase 
with the money controlled by us, we had been unable up to this time to 
straighten and deepen this section of the canal as I had intended, and I 
evolved the theory that by putting in a waste gate about eight miles be- 
low the head gate, from which point we could waste water into the 
Paredones River and from this into Volcano Lake, that we could carry 
through the upper portion of the canal during the flood season of 1904 
a sufficient volume of water to deepen and scour out by its own action 
this upper portion of the canal. This waste way was constructed and the 
flood waters were allowed to run freely through the upper portion of the 
canal during the summer season of 1904. The first action of the heavy 
volume of water coming through the canal was as I had expected. From 
investigations and measurements frequently made, some two feet of 
the bottom was taken out, and I believed, then, that we were absolutely 
safe for our Valley supply during the following season ; but I had count- 
ed without my host, and my theory was disproven a little later in the 
flood season, as when the river reached its flood heights, instead of 



scouring the bottom of the canal as I had expected, the heavy sand 
waves which are carried along the bottom of the river in extreme flood 
periods, were carried into the canal and deposited within the first four 
miles below the gate. As soon as the summer flood dropped and I discov- 
ered this condition of affairs, and that instead of the bottom being low- 
ered, it was approximately one foot above that of the year previous, we 
adopted the only means at our command to attempt to deepen the canal. 

Knowing the character of the material to be removed, we knew that 
with the dredging tools that we had it would be impossible to dredge 
out this four miles of canal in sufficient time for the uses of the Valley, 
providing the water in the river should drop as low as it had the previ- 
ous year. The dredgers were brought back, however, and put at work ; 
but the result proved as I had anticipated, that it would take practically 
all winter to dredge the canals ; that is, it would take all winter to pro- 
vide new machinery, even if we had the money ; and in hopes, then, that 
it might possibly prove effective, I employed the steamer Cochan, and, 
placing a heavy drag behind it, ran it up and down the canal in hopes 
that by stirring up the bottom there would be sufficient velocity in the 
canal itself to move the silt deposits on below the four mile stretch to a 
point where I knew the water had sufficient velocity to keep the silt 
moving. A month's work, however, with the steamer proved that the 
work being done by it was inadequate. 

We were confronted then with the proposition of doing one of two 
things, either cutting a new heading from the canal to the river below 
the silted four miles section of the canal, or else allowing the Valley to 
pass through another winter with an insufficient water supply. The lat- 
ter proposition we could not face for the reason that the people of the 
Imperial Valley had an absolute right to demand that water should be 
furnished them, and it was questionable in our minds as to whether we 
would be able to keep out of bankruptcy if we were to be confronted 
by another period of shortage in this coming season of 1904-1905. 

The cutting of the lower intake, after mature deliberation and upon 
the insistence of several of the leading men of the Valley, was decided 
upon. We hesitated about making this cut, not so much because we be- 
lieved we were incurring danger of the river's breaking through, as 
from the fact that we had been unable to obtain the consent of the Gov- 
ernment of Mexico to make it, and we believed that we were jeopardiz- 


ing our Mexican rights should the cut be made without the consent of 
the government. On a telegraphic communication, however, from our 
attorney in the City of Mexico to go ahead and make the cut, we did so 
under the presumption that he had obtained the necessary permit from 
the Mexican authorities. It was some time after this, in fact after the 
cut was made to the river, before we discovered that he had been unable 
to obtain the formal permit, but had simply obtained the promise of cer- 
tain officials that we would not be interfered with providing that plans 
were at once submitted for the necessary controlling structures to be 
placed in this heading. 

This lower intake was constructed not, as is generally supposed, be- 
cause there was a greater grade from the river through to the main 
canal at this point. The grade through the cut and the grade of the main 
canal above the cut were approximately the same, but the cut was 
made at this point for the reason that the main canal below the point 
where the lower intake joined it was approximately four feet deeper 
than the main canal through the four miles above this junction to the 
Chaffey gate, consequently giving us greater water capacity. In cutting 
from the main canal to the river at this point, we had to dredge a dis- 
tance of 3300 feet only, through easy material to remove, while an at- 
tempt to dredge out the main canal above would have required the 
dredging of four miles of very difficult material. We began the cut the 
latter end of September and completed it in about three weeks. 

As soon as the cut was decided upon, elaborate plans for a controlling 
gate were immediately started and when completed early in November 
were immediately forwarded to the City of Mexico for approval of the 
engineers of the Mexican government, without whose approval we had 
no authority or right to construct the gate. Notwithstanding the insist- 
ence of our attorney in the City of Mexico and various telegraphic com- 
munications insisting upon this approval being hurried, we were unable 
to obtain it until twelve months afterward, namely, the month of De- 
cember, 1905. 

In the meantime serious trouble had begun. We have since been ac- 
cused of gross negligence and criminal carelessness in making this cut, 
but I doubt as to whether anyone should be accused of negligence or 
carelessness in failing to foresee that which had never happened before. 
We had before us, at the time, the history of the river as shown by the 



daily rod readings kept at Yuma for a period of twenty-seven years. In 
the twenty-seven years there had been but three winter floods. In no 
year of the twenty-seven had there been two winter floods. It was not 
probable, then, in the winter of 1905, that there would be any winter 
flood to enlarge the cut made by us and without doubt, as it seemed to 
us, we would be able to close the cut before the approach of the sum- 
mer flood by the same means that we had used in closing the cut for 
three successive years around the Chaffey gate at the head of the canal. 

During this year of 1905, however, we had more than one winter 
flood. The first heavy flood came, I believe, about the first of February, 
but did not enlarge the lower intake ; on the contrary it caused such a 
silt deposit in the lower intake that I found it necessary, after the flood 
had passed, to put the dredge* through in order to deepen the channel 
sufficiently to allow enough water to come into the Valley for the use of 
the people. 

This was followed shortly by another heavy flood that did not erode 
the banks of the intake but, on the contrary, the same as first, caused a 
deposit of silt and a necessary dredging. We were not alarmed by these 
floods, as it was still very early in the season. No damage had been 
done by them and we still believed that there would be no difficulty 
whatever in closing the intake before the approach of the summer flood, 
which was the only one we feared. However, the first two floods were 
followed by a third, coming some time in March, and this was sufficient 
notice to us that we were up against a very unusual season, something 
unknown in the history of the river as far back as we were able to 
reach ; and, as it was now approaching the season of the year when we 
might reasonably expect the river surface to remain at an elevation that 
would allow sufficient water for the uses of the Valley to be gotten 
through the upper intake, we decided to close the lower. 

Work was immediately begun upon a dam similar to the ones here- 
tofore successfully used in closing the cut around the Chaffey gate. The 
dam was very nearly completed, when a fourth flood coming down the 
river swept it out. Work was immediately begun on another dam which 
was swept away by the fifth flood coming down during this winter 

About this time I left for the east, and, at the earnest solicitation of 
Imperial Water Company No. 1, which agreed to advance $5000 for 



the effort, a third attempt to close the break was made under the direc- 
tions of Mr. C. N. Perry and the superintendent of Imperial Water 
Company No. i, Mr. Thomas Beach. On my return from the east, on 
the 17th of June, I found them heroically attempting to stop the break 
with the water so high in the Colorado that all of the banks and sur- 
rounding lands were flooded, and I immediately stopped the work as we 
realized fully that nothing could be done until after the summer flood 
had passed. 

At this time the lower intake had been enlarged from a width of 
about sixty feet, as originally cut with the dredger, to a width of possi- 
bly 150 feet, and it did not then seem probable that the Colorado River 
would turn its entire flow through the cut, but as the waters of the river 
began to fall the banks of the intake began to cave and run into the 
canal ; the banks of the canal below the intake fell in and, as known by 
most of the residents of the Valley, the entire river began running 
through the canal and into the Salton Sea in the month of August of 
this year of 1905. 

After stopping the work of Messrs. Perry and Beach in June of that 
year, it was decided that nothing further should be done until the sum- 
mer flood had passed. When that flood had receded and we found that 
the entire river was coming through into the Salton Sea, the question as 
to how to turn the river became, perhaps, as serious a one from an en- 
gineering point of view, as had ever before confronted any engineer 
upon the American continent. 

Immediately opposite the heading of the lower intake an island lay 
in the Colorado River about a half mile long and a quarter of a mile 
wide, being merely a sand bar upon which there had accumulated a 
growth of cottonwood and arrow weed, and in the month of July, while 
still a very large portion of the water was flowing through the east 
channel along the Arizona shore, I conceived the idea that possibly we 
might, by driving a line of piling from the upper end of this island to 
the Lower California shore and weaving in between the piling barbed 
wire and brush, create a sand bar that would gradually force all of the 
water into the east channel, after which we could throw in a perma- 
nent dam across the lower intake. Under the supervision of George Sex- 
smith, our dredger foreman, and E. H. Gaines, the present county sur- 
veyor of Imperial County, both of whom had been with us for years 



and made good, this jetty was started from the upper end of the island 
and directed toward the California shore at a point about 3000 feet 
above the island. I hardly expected this plan to be a success, but there 
was a possibility of its succeeding, and it was the only means that could 
be adopted that might turn the water from the Salton Sea quickly 
enough to prevent the necessity of moving the Southern Pacific tracks ; 
and also, if successful, it was the most economical means of turning the 
river. We succeeded in building a bar throughout the length of about 
2800 feet, but there was left an opening, approximately 125 feet long, 
through which the rush of water was too great to control. This work 
was abandoned about the first of August. 

The one plan that I had advised, that I felt surely would succeed, 
was to construct a gate of sufficient size to carry the entire low water 
flow of the river, believing that when the water was turned through this 
gate we could, by closing the gates, raise the water to an elevation that 
would throw it down its original channel. This plan was fully discussed 
with Mr. Randolph and with our consulting engineer, Mr. James D. 
Schuyler, as well as with engineers of the Southern Pacific, who fully 
agreed as to the feasibility of that plan, and who expressed their belief 
that no other plan gave as great assurance of success. Mr. H. T. Cory, 
who was at that time Mr. Randolph's assistant and confidential man 
at Tucson, was sent from Tucson to examine into my plans and to re- 
port to Mr. Randolph upon their feasibility. At Mr. Cory's suggestion, 
an engineer from San Francisco was brought down to go over the 
works. Both Mr. Cory and his friend agreed upon the feasibility of the 
gate plan. Every one interested agreeing, I then, on rush orders, got to- 
gether all material necessary for the construction of this gate, the floor 
of which was to be of concrete on a pile foundation with a wooden 
superstructure, and it was my expectation to have the entire structure 
completed by the middle of November, 1905. If I remember correctly, 
the first material for this structure left Los Angeles on the 7th day of 
August, 1905. 

It had been my intention originally to construct the gate in a channel 
to be built by the dredge west of the intake, but the soil proving of a 
quicksand formation and saturated with water, I found it difficult to 
make this excavation, and after working a few days I abandoned that 
idea and decided to construct a by-pass immediately east of the intake 


channel through which I would force the water of the river and would 
then build a gate in the intake itself. The intake at this point was about 
300 feet in width, no more than we would require for rapid and success- 
ful construction of the work. 

The dredger was immediately put to work upon the by-pass and this 
material was so easily moved that the dredger found no difficulty what- 
ever in making the short cut of about 700 feet that was required, and 
as soon as the cut was made a large portion of the water in the intake 
began naturally to pass through ; and work was begun upon the first 
dam required to force all of the water through the by-pass, it being the 
intention that when this dam was completed and all of the water was 
going through the by-pass to throw in another dam about 250 feet be- 
low the first in order to inclose that portion of the intake to be used as a 
site for the gate ; the second dam being built in still water, would have 
required only two or three days' work with the dredger, as it would 
have been simply an earthen bank thrown up by that machine. 

It was at this time that I decided that it would be necessary for me 
to either put some one at the river to take absolute charge of the con- 
struction of the gate and the closing of the river, or else it would be 
necessary to put some one in the Los Angeles office to handle the busi- 
ness affairs of the company, as I found that I was spending fully one- 
third of my time on the train between Los Angeles and Yuma and that 
the strain was becoming too great and that either work required my 
presence all the time. I met Mr. Randolph about the middle of Septem- 
ber and discussed the question with him and he fully agreed with me 
that I could not fill both positions, and also agreed with me that it 
would be easier to find some one capable of completing the gate in ac- 
cordance with the plans outlined, than it would be to find some one to 
take charge of the business end of affairs of the company, as no one but 
Mr. Heber and myself knew fully in regard to all contracts that had 
been entered into. Mr. Randolph asked me who I had in mind for the 
river work and upon my replying that I had not decided, he suggested 
that Mr. F. S. Edinger would be the right man if we could get him. 1 
did not know Mr. Edinger intimately, but had known him for several 
years as the superintendent of bridges for the Southern Pacific Rail- 
road. He had built the bridge at Yuma and I believed him to be a man 
of integrity and of great ability, and I concurred with Mr. Randolph in 



the wisdom of placing Mr. Edinger in charge of the work at the river, 
providing his services could be obtained. He had left the employ of the 
Southern Pacific about three months previously and was then interested 
with the contracting firm of Shattuck & Desmond of Los Angeles and 
San Francisco, with headquarters at San Francisco. 

I had to leave the following day for San Francisco in order to pass 
upon the plans for the concrete head gate which were being gotten out 
by our consulting engineer, Mr. James D. Schuyler. In San Francisco I 
attempted to find Mr. Edinger, but learned that he was in Arizona. 
On my return to Los Angeles, I found a letter from Mr. Randolph stat- 
ing that he had met Mr. Edinger in Tucson and had arranged with him 
to take entire charge of the work at the river for the construction of 
the gate in accordance with my plans ; he requested me to go to Yuma 
with Mr. Edinger and turn the entire work over to him. Mr. Edinger 
had left for San Francisco, but returned in three or four days, when I 
accompanied him to the river, discussed with him the entire gate plans, 
went with him over the ground and turned at the time the entire work 
over to him. He expressed himself as entirely satisfied with the plans 
of this gate and as believing that the gate could be put in place much 
easier than I had anticipated, but agreed with me that if I was erring 
it was on the side of safety, and that the work would go ahead as out- 
lined by me. He said that it would be necessary for him to return to San 
Francisco at once in order to obtain some additional pumping machin- 
ery, which we decided we would require, and also to get several of his 
old men whom he thought would be of very material assistance to him 
in carrying through the new work rapidly. 

He went to San Francisco and was to return in a week. He did not 
return for two weeks, and when he did return passed through Los An- 
geles without notifying me. He went to the river, and at this time we 
were having what we ordinarily expect about the first of October, a 
slight rise in the river of two or three feet. This rise I had been ex- 
pecting and hoping for, as I believed it would enlarge the by-pass and 
would, without the aid of the dam, throw a larger amount of the river 
water through the by-pass. 

Mr. Edinger, according to statements made to me, remained on the 
work at this time but a few minutes, when he returned to Yuma and 
took the first train for Tucson to see Mr. Randolph, to whom he said 



that neither he nor any other man could build that gate and put it in 
place and that he would not undertake it. He had plans for the construc- 
tion of a dam across the west channel from the head of the island direct 
to the Lower California shore, a distance of about 600 feet, by means 
of which he said he would be able to turn the water down the east chan- 
nel. He claimed that he could do this work in much quicker time than 
the gate could be put in, even if the gate could be built at all, which he 
denied. Mr. Randolph, who had great faith in Mr. Edinger's experience 
and ability, agreed to this change of plan without consultation with me, 
and authorized Mr. Edinger to remove all material from the gate site, 
and to proceed at once with the construction of what was afterward 
known as the Edinger Dam. This was on a Thursday that Mr. Edinger 
went to Tucson. On Friday they started to move all material to the site 
of the Edinger Dam, and I knew nothing at all of this change of plan 
until the following Monday, when I was notified by Mr. Randolph in 
Los Angeles of what he had done. 

The dam met with several mishaps ; Edinger was very much longer 
in its construction than he had estimated. One of the foundation mats 
had broken, and though it was held in place, I did not believe, nor did 
other engineers believe who examined the work, that it would be a suc- 
cess. On the 29th day of November, Edinger had succeeded in raising 
the water thirty-five inches by means of the dam and had some water 
going down the east channel. In order to have turned all the water down 
the east channel, it would have been necessary to have raised the water 
to a height of between eight and ten feet, and it is exceedingly doubtful 
if the structure would have stood the pressure, but that is merely a mat- 
ter of surmise. 

On the 29th of November a very heavy flood came down the river 
and the entire structure was washed away and the work was abandoned. 

Whether or not the first gate planned would have been completed be- 
fore the flood of November 29th, is a matter of conjecture. No man can 
tell positively, but, judging from the tremendous work evolved in the 
construction of the second gate, which would not have been incurred 
in the construction of the first, and judging, too, from the rapidity with 
which the second gate was put in place, it is my opinion and the opinion 
of others who were able to judge, that the first gate would have been 
in place before the flood came down ; and that gate, with its concrete 



floor, would have stood the pressure that would have been placed upon 
it, in which case the river would have been turned in November, 1905, 
and at a cost that would not have exceeded $125,000. 

On the 15th day of December, 1905, I was authorized to go ahead 
again with the construction of what has been known as the Rockwood 
Gate. The heavy flood of November 29th had enlarged the intake from 
a width of 300 feet to a width of approximately 600 feet. It had taken 
out the island between the by-pass and the intake, and as we could not 
hope for the completion of the new gate before April, 1906, by which 
time we might possibly have high water in the river, it seemed an unsafe 
proposition to attempt to build the gate in the old channel. After looking 
over the ground, then, I decided to build the new gate directly in the 
main canal and to carry the water around the gate by means of a new 
canal to be built. The first gate was planned for a width of 120 feet and 
to carry a maximum of nine thousand cubic feet per second, which was 
the estimated amount of water that might be in the river in the month 
of November, 1905, at which time I had expected to have the gate com- 
pleted. The Yuma records show that the amount of water flowing in the 
river previous to the flood of November 29th could have been success- 
fully carried through a gate of the width planned. As the new gate could 
not be completed until the spring of 1906, I decided that it would have 
to be built larger than previously planned in order to carry the larger 
amount of water that might be expected in the river at that time ; conse- 
quently, it was planned with a width of 200 feet. 

The dimensions of the new gate, including its wooden aprons, was to 
be over all 240 feet by 10 feet. Instead of having a clear cut channel to 
work in, as we had for the first gate, the entire space had to be enclosed 
in a coffer-dam, and the excavation made from the interior of this enclo- 
sure. The work involved was such that the time required, as well as 
the expense, was fully twice as great as required for the construction of 
the first gate. 

Mr. Randolph, while giving his permission to go ahead with this con- 
struction, expressed doubt of our ability to put the floor of the gate 
down to the elevation that I expected to reach. I succeeded in placing 
the floor one foot below the elevation proposed in the original plan and 
the gate, except for its rock aprons, which were never built, was com- 
pleted on the 18th day of April, 1906, practically within the time I had 


estimated, although at a very much greater cost. But we had had high 
water in the river since about the first of March, and at this time some 
22,000 cubic feet per second were passing down the channel ; and, while 
I believe that the gate might successfully carry 15,000 feet, it seemed 
foolish to place a test upon it, at this time, against a rising river, as it 
was exceedingly doubtful if we would be able to construct a dam across 
the 600 feet of channel with the means at our disposal before the sunn 
mer flood should be upon us ; consequently, we decided to stop the work 
until after the summer flood of 1906 should have passed. 

I had found, at this time, that it was impossible for me to manage the 
affairs of the company in accordance with my ideas, and unless I could 
do so, I believed that it was best for the stockholders of the company 
that I should resign as assistant general manager, which I did the latter 
part of April, 1906. Mr. H. T. Cory was then made general manager 
and I became the consulting engineer. 

After the summer flood had passed Mr. Cory moved his headquarters 
to the river and took complete charge of the work. 

At this time, due to the summer flood of 1906, the intake had again 
been enlarged from 600 feet to approximately 2600 feet, and the work 
of filling was of such a magnitude that we decided it would be impossi- 
ble to accomplish it in the time at our disposal except by means of a 
branch road to be built a distance of seven miles from the Southern Pa- 
cific main line across the intake, on the site of the proposed dam. The 
construction of this line, which was immediately begun, gave us the op- 
portunity to throw a spur track in front of the gate and assure its safety, 
as it would permit rock to be dumped either on the gate or in front of it 
in case serious erosion should occur ; but the spur was not built until 
too late. The rock aprons that I had intended to build above and below 
the gate had not been put in, which omission allowed whirlpools to start 
in front of the gate which dug a hole below the sheet piling. The spur 
was then completed as rapidly as possible in order to bring in rock to fill 
the hole, but when the first trainload of rock started across the spur on 
the morning of October nth, a part of the trestle gave way and the 
train was thrown from the track, and at three o'clock in the afternoon 
the gate rose and went out. I was not on the ground at the time, having 
resigned as consulting engineer in October. 

Previous to this, however, this gate, which had been planned to carry 



12,000 cubic feet of water per second on an even flow, had been carry- 
ing for a period of nearly two weeks far in excess of the amount, and, 
due to the drift which had been allowed to accumulate in front of it, this 
water, instead of going through smoothly, was going through with an 
overpour exceeding four feet in height. 

Whether the structure would have stood the strain had this spur been 
completed in time and had the rock aprons shown in my original plans 
been built, no man can tell, but it is my belief and that of other experi- 
enced engineers who examined it, that it would have stood and would 
have done the work for which it was planned, and would have been 
there today. 

After the Rockwood Gate, so-called, went out. I understand that Mr. 
Randolph decided to throw a mat and brush dam across the river chan- 
nel below the intake of the concrete gate, which was built under my di- 
rection the winter before, and to force all the water through it. He was 
dissuaded, as I have been told, from this plan by Thomas Hind, who 
had been previously in charge of the work at the river under my direc- 
tions, and who was, at the time of the going out of the Rockwood Gate, 
foreman under H. T. Cory in charge of the river work. Hind said he 
could close the river and force the water back into the old channel by 
main force, providing they could furnish him with rock fast enough. 
They decided upon adopting this plan, which, at the time, was in all 
probability the only one that could have been adopted that would have 
succeeded in quick enough time to prevent the necessity of again moving 
the Southern Pacific tracks to the high grade level which they had been 
building at an elevation of 100 feet below sea level around the Salton 

Mr. Randolph succeeded in getting the Southern Pacific to agree to 
this plan of procedure which necessitated, practically, the turning over 
of the entire trackage facilities of the Southern Pacific to this work. 

Quarries from all over the country were brought into requisition and 
passenger trains were ordered to give way to the rock trains that would 
be required ; and what is probably one of the most gigantic works ever 
done by man in an equal length of time was then inaugurated, and the 
work of filling the channel began. Most of the cars used were of the pat- 
tern called battleships, carrying fifty cubic yards of rock, and the trains 
were so handled that for several days, or until the fill was above the dan- 


ger point, one car of rock was dumped on the average of every five min- 
utes, night and day. This plan was successful. The Hind Dam was com- 
pleted and the water turned down its old channel toward the Gulf of 
California on the 4th of November, 1908. 

The river did not stay long turned, however. A few weeks after the 
closure had been made, a flood came down the river which broke under 
the earth levees which had been constructed from the Hind Dam down 
the river for the purpose of preventing an overflow from entering the 
channel below the dam. 

The floods which had occurred during the year 1905- 1906 had caused 
a deep deposit of silt upon the lands below the dam. This silt deposit was 
filled with cracks, and when the Hind Dam was completed, the water at 
first raised above the natural ground surface and lay against the levee to 
a depth of from four to eight inches in the neighborhood of where the 
second break occurred. 

Even this slight pressure of water found its way beneath the levee in 
many different places, and a large gang of men was required to prevent 
it from breaking ; but nothing was done to make it safe, and when the 
next flood came down the river in December, 1906, it broke under the 
levee and again the water turned down to the Salton Sea. 

This second break was closed in the same manner as the first had 
been, on the nth day of February, 1907. After repairing the second 
break the levees were rebuilt and extended farther down the river and, 
in my opinion, they will now stand any pressure that may come against 
them, and I believe that the people of the Imperial Valley are now en- 
tirely safe from the probability of destruction due to future floods in the 
Colorado River, and that these floods may not occur, not because it is 
impossible that the flood waters of the Colorado should again find their 
way to the Salton Sea, but as the river has been twice turned, it can be 
turned again by the same means should it ever become necessary to do 

The people of the Imperial Valley have naturally expected great 
things of the management of the Southern Pacific, believing that an en- 
terprise backed by all its millions and its natural interest in the develop- 
ment of the traffic would at once surge ahead ; that all necessary work to 
put the entire enterprise in a safe and satisfactory condition for the 
distribution of water would be done, and that the work would be rapid- 



ly carried on to cover the entire acreage available for irrigation within 
the Valley. 

Two years have now passed since the final closure was made, and on 
the 20th day of next June four years will have passed since the South- 
ern Pacific assumed absolute charge of the management of the affairs 
of the California Development Company, and yet, during that time, I 
doubt if sixty miles of new canals and ditches have been built, and I, 
doubt if to exceed 5000 more people are now in the Valley than were 
here on the 20th day of June, 1905. 

The old company, hampered as it was by lack of funds and the er- 
roneous beliefs of the world regarding the possibilities of this region, 
began its work of construction at the Colorado River in September, 

1900. It brought the first little trickle of water down through what is 
now known as the Boundary Ditch at Calexico on the 21st day of June, 

1901. It was not able to turn water into its main canal for irrigation 
until March, 1902. Practically then the history of development in the 
hands of the old management, dates from the time when we turned over 
the management to the Southern Pacific on the 20th day of June, 1905; 
a period of four years. During that time, in spite of all that we had 
during the early period to overcome, we built nearly 800 miles of can- 
als; we sold water rights covering approximately 210,000 acres of land, 
and we brought into the Valley not less than 15,000 people. 

It must be remembered though that nearly two years of the Southern 
Pacific control was spent in turning the floods that threatened to de- 
stroy all, that it has been hampered by many adverse court decisions 
against the California Development Company, and it is a question as 
to whether any financial men placed in the same position that they are 
would have done more than they have, except that a different adminis- 
tration might have before this cleared the ground for future action and 
might have effected a reorganization which must undoubtedly be ac- 
complished before the great work can again go ahead smoothly. 

Court decisions have been rendered which would naturally make the 
Southern Pacific, or any financial institution in its place, hesitate before 
spending more money in the Valley for the benefit of others. The de- 
cision of the United States Federal Court gave to the Liverpool Salt 
Company in a suit which it brought against the California Development 
Company for destroying its works a judgment of $450,000. The South- 


ern Pacific does not, naturally, care to pay this judgment. Some of the 
people of the Imperial Valley combined and assigned to one Jones in- 
numerable claims for damages, some real, some fictitious, all exag- 
gerated, but aggregating in the total amount some $470,000. The South- 
ern Pacific cannot be responsible for that damage, nor does it care to 
create additional wealth, additional assets, for the California Develop- 
ment Company that might be taken to pay those damage claims should 
Jones succeed in obtaining a judgment against the company. 

I understand that plans had been drawn and consent had been given 
for the expenditure of a large amount of money for the construction of 
permanent gates in the main canal, above Sharps, when a decision ren- 
dered by the Federal Court in Los Angeles cast doubt upon the legality 
of the contracts entered into between the mutual companies and the 
California Development Company, and also threw a serious doubt upon 
the value of all water stocks and upon the value of future investments 
that might be made by the Southern Pacific in the canal system. Follow- 
ing this decision then they ordered all work stopped and notified the 
present management of the California Development Company that it 
must depend entirely upon its resources obtained from water rentals or 
from the sale of such water stocks as people might see fit to buy. 

(The decision referred to above was reversed by Judge Welborn in 
February, 1900. — Ed.). 

If these water rentals were paid promptly it is doubtful if they 
would be sufficient to operate successfully the system, but I understand 
they have not been all paid and the present management of the com- 
pany, like the old, is hampered in its work by inadequate funds. 

A new chapter has now been opened in the affairs of the Valley and 
in the affairs of the California Development Company by a suit brought 
on the 9th day of January, 1909, against the company by the Southern 
Pacific for, approximately, $1,400,000, the company suing on promis- 
sory notes given to the Southern Pacific Railroad Company and by the 
Southern Pacific management of the California Development Com- 
pany. We may hope, however, that instead of this suit further com- 
plicating the situation and retarding development indefinitely, that it 
may prove an advantage to all concerned by clearing the ground and 
leaving it clean for future growth. 


Fight on for C. D. Control. A Late Letter from Mr. Rockwood 

Los Angeles, Cal., May 12, 1909. 
To the people of Imperial Valley: 

It is with regret that I announce to you that on Saturday, May 8, 
1909, Mr. W. F. Herrin, the head of the legal department of the South- 
ern Pacific, acting for that company, decided not to accept the propo- 
sition recently made by the stockholders of the California Development 
Company, whereby we agreed to sell to the Southern Pacific Company 
all of the stock of the C. D. Co., for $250,000, being $20 per share, or 
one-fifth of its par value. The price at which we offered the stock equals 
only about $1 per acre for the lands now under water stock and 25 cents 
per acre for the total irrigable area of the Valley. 

The revenues from water rentals for this year, 1909, will equal the 
total amount that we have asked the Southern Pacific Company to pay 
us for our equity in this great enterprise, that was with your help and 
theirs created by us, an enterprise that, though still in its infancy, too 
young as yet to even dream the story of its future greatness, increased 
the revenues of the great Southern Pacific Company during the year 
1908 by nearly two and one-half million dollars. They will undoubtedly 
deny these figures and I cannot prove them, but my information came 
directly from a high official of the company, whose name I will not give 
as such information is not for us common people, and I do not wish to 
embarrass my friend by subjecting him to reprimand from the higher 

The little we have asked them to pay us out of their much is, we be- 
lieve, far below the sum that we are justly entitled to for our part in 
building up this Imperial empire of the southwest. A year ago we made 
a proposition to the Southern Pacific Company to settle our differences. 
They refused it. We have made others since, all of which have been 
ignored, and they never made to us a counter proposition, unless that 
we pay back to them all of the money they have squandered in misman- 
aging our affairs, with interest, be considered a proposition. This sum, 
which includes freight at $12 a ton, $18 per cubic yard, on much of the 
rock that was used in closing the break, amounts, according to their 
statement, to approximately $4,000,000, and unless we are prepared to 
pay them this sum they have decided that we who have created for 



them a revenue of $2,500,000 per year, are entitled to no consideration 
from them. 

This is of interest to you, of vital interest, and for that reason I am 
taking you into my confidence and telling you these things that mean 
the retarding of the development of our great Valley unless we, the 
stockholders and owners of the California Development Company, who 
conceived and planned this enterprise and put into it our all, give up 
that all to satisfy the rapacity of the Southern Pacific Company. 

When we offered them the stock at $20 per share we offered them 
nearly all. We offered it because we are weak as compared with their 
great strength, and because we hoped that if we gave them title to the 
property that they would use their great power and resources to devel- 
op it. I am informed that the attorneys for the Southern Pacific in Los 
Angeles and San Francisco advised settlement on this basis, that this 
was also the desire of Messrs. Cory and Doran, the Southern Pacific 
managers of the California Development Company, but Mr. Espes Ran- 
dolph and Mr. W. F. Herrin control, and they decided against it, and 
instructed the Los Angeles attorney to begin marshaling their legal 
hosts against us. 

The fight is on. I am sorry for your sakes as well as my own, but I 
think there are but few of you who can in your hearts expect or ask 
us to do more than we have. Personally I have given sixteen years out of 
the middle of my life in turning the Colorado Desert into the Imperial 
Valley. I have succeeded, not alone to be sure. Without the help of the 
brains and money of my associates I could have done nothing. Without 
the help of the Southern Pacific in time to save all our efforts might 
have been fruitless, but that they did save no more entitles them to say 
to us, the stockholders, give us all in payment, than it does to say to you, 
give us the farm we saved for you. 

I try not to be egotistical, but when I now ride through our fields of 
waving grain and look miles across broad acres of alfalfa, dotted here 
and there with comfortable homes, and the evidence of a prosperous 
people, and think of that day, more than sixteen years back, when, 
without a wagon track or trail to guide me, I first crossed the then unin- 
habitated solitude, I know that I have accomplished that which is given 
to but few to do, and while my reward is mostly in doing that which I 
undertook to do, still I believe that in my work I have honestly earned 



in that visible evidence of success, money, a competency. But I do not 
expect it now out of my work in the Valley unless I can acquire it in 
the future through the same opportunities that have been given to you. 

Personally I own 712 shares of California Development Company 
stock. At the price it was offered to the Southern Pacific Company I 
would have received $16,240, not a very magnificent money reward to 
be sure; but even this they refused, and now to get it or anything I 
must fight through the long, tedious process of the courts. In the fight 
I, we, want and hope to receive the sympathy and moral support of the 
Valley people. 

The time must come when you, the people, will own the great water 
system on which you are so entirely dependent, and now that your land 
titles are being adjusted the time may be not far away when you can 
offer a security that would permit you to purchase. Hope then, for your 
own sakes, if not for ours, that we may win, for undoubtedly the price 
we will ask of you will be but a small part of the demands of the South- 
ern Pacific Company. 

I believe that in this fight we are legally and morally right, and that 
the courts of our land will not oblige us, or you, to return to the South- 
ern Pacific Company the millions unnecessarily spent, and spent in any 
case not for our protection but for their own, and I believe we will win, 
and if we do, you do. 

Requesting then your patience and your continued good-will, I 


Yours sincerely, 

C. R. Rockwood. 



When Congressman Roberts of Pennsylvania had traversed the desert 
to enter Imperial Valley, he said : "The one incomprehensible fact with 
me is that you people came here. Now that you are here and have 
brought about this marvelous development, I can well understand why 
you stay here. But how did it happen that you came out into this Valley 
when it was such a forbidding desert as I have seen in coming here? — 
that is the mystery." 

Congressman Roberts did not realize that there is in America a 
nomadic race of beings, always pressing toward the frontier and carv- 
ing empires to endure for the ages. Here in Imperial Valley, last of the 
American frontiers, they saw their opportunity, and we may believe 
that as they settled down near the river to make new habitation they 
but duplicated the processes of the ancient Assyrians and Egyptians, 
throwing off the nomadic instinct for the time being and adding to the 
processes of the ancients the skill of the moderns. 

It was no accident that brought forth Imperial Valley from the deso- 
lation of the Colorado Desert. There is no alchemy and no mysticism in 
the methods whereby the desert is reclaimed. Everywhere in modern 
husbandry the scientist is analyzing the soil and determining the ele- 
ment that is lacking for highest productivity, and he has discovered that 
in arid lands the one missing element is moisture. That supplied, the 
plant food that has been accumulating through the ages brings forth 
crops to astonish those unacquainted with the desert. 

Early in the 40's General Kearny's expedition crossed Southern Ari- 
zona, noted the great success of the Pima Indians in the Salt River 
valley growing cotton and other cultures, thence came on through what 
was to become the famous Imperial Valley. 

A decade later they were followed by soldiers of the United States, 
and so early as that time the possibility of reclaiming the desert by 



bringing water from the Colorado River was reported on by army 

A little later Dr. Wozencraft of San Bernardino became interested 
in bringing this about, and did his utmost to get Congress to make an 
appropriation to this end, but when it seemed that he might succeed, 
the Civil War came on, and for years nothing could be done in regard 
to reclamation works. After the war he again tried to secure govern- 
ment aid for the work, but was unsuccessful. 

During the 70's individuals became interested in a project to bring 
about the work as a private enterprise, but nothing came of those ef- 
forts, covering a series of years. 

The California Development Company finally was formed, composed 
of C. R. Rockwood, A. H. Heber, Dr. W. T. Heffernan and others. 
These were men of moderate means, but all they possessed was put 
into the work of making surveys and hunting for bigger capital to carry 
on the work. A number of years went by without accomplishment until 
the spring of 1900, when George Chaffey, as general manager, began 
the great work of building which was to be conducted during the four- 
teen months in which he headed the enterprise. 

Mr. Chaffey was a Canadian civil and mechanical engineer, and more 
than twenty years before he had been connected with the development 
work at Riverside, and thence had gone to found the colonies of On- 
tario and Etiwanda, Southern California. Following his success in 
Southern California he had gone to Australia to take charge of great 
government irrigation works, and these works being completed, he had 
just returned to this country when he became interested in the Imperial 
enterprise, of which he was made the head. He began his task with ad- 
verse financial conditions. Not only had all the stock of the company 
passed to private hands, but the company had considerable floating ob- 
ligations and had sold water rights for 35,000 acres of land. Its only as- 
sets consisted of a camp equipment and an interest in a surveying out- 
fit. As he built canals the holders of water rights located them along the 
canals, thus making it difficult to finance additional works. 

Adding to the difficulties, the United States Agricultural Department 
bureau of soils sent here a young and inexperienced man to report on 
the soils of the Valley, and the report he made was so unjustly adverse 
that banks which had co-operated to a degree withdrew their support. 


In spite of these obstacles, in fourteen months Mr. Chaffey dug 700 
miles of canal, and colonists having come to the Valley in large num- 
bers, mainly from irrigated sections of California and Arizona, the sec- 
tion was given an impetus that nothing could stop. 

Building in this way it was inevitable that the works should be con- 
structed with a view to cheapness rather than endurance, and the col- 
onists have paid a heavy penalty for this, though greater stability is 
being wrought out by the people for themselves in these later days, and 
the irrigation works will in time take rank with the best the world 

The supreme evil that came upon the Valley as a result of the cheap 
construction came through conducting the irrigation canal through 

Abutting on the international line as it does, a chain of sand hills lies 
between Imperial Valley and the Colorado River and extends a short 
distance below the line into Mexico. From an engineering point of view 
it was the logical thing to do to conduct the canal around the chain of 
hills. But insomuch as that vested the control of the canal in a foreign 
country, it was a most serious obstacle to the development of the full 
resources of the American lands, it being necessary to make great con- 
cessions to Mexico. 

It would be much better if the writing of this historical sketch could 
be delayed a few months, for then, in all probability, the triumph of the 
colonists over this obstacle could be recounted. As these words are writ- 
ten there is a delegation in Washington conferring with the representa- 
tives of the Interior Department, and there is assurance that arrange- 
ments will be perfected whereby a canal wholly within the United 
States will be constructed and the irrigation of the half million acres 
now in Imperial irrigation district, and nearly as much additional land 
outside the present boundaries of the district, will be divorced from the 
six hundred thousand irrigable acres in Mexico. 

In late years a new line of organization has been followed, which has 
placed the irrigation system in the hands of the residents of the Valley. 
The financial difficulties of the California Development Company and 
its closely affiliated Mexican company (the stock of the latter owned 
by the former and maintained as a method of control of the canal in 
Mexico) eventually led to a receivership, and the Southern Pacific Rail- 



road Company having advanced the company a sum of money, the rail- 
road company became the controlling factor. The people of the Valley 
in 191 1 organized an irrigation district under the laws of California, 
and for three millions of dollars purchased the irrigation system, as- 
suming the obligation of the original company in its contract with the 
Republic of Mexico to give to the Mexican lands one half of all water 
brought through that country, providing those lands require that quan- 
tity of water. The district also maintains a Mexican corporation, the 
function of which is the same as that of its predecessor. 

In the original organization the Development Company was a parent 
company, having contracts with a series of mutual water companies for 
the delivery of water at 50 cents an acre foot, the farmers holding stock 
in these companies on the basis of one share (usually) to the acre. Each 
of these mutual companies serves the water used in a well defined sec- 
tion of the Valley. 

In forming the district this organization was continued, the district 
serving the mutual companies and not the individual farmers and con- 
tinuing the former charge. The mutual companies levy assessments 
from time to time to cover the maintenance of their distributing canals 
and their office expenses, and charge the farmers at the rate of 50 cents 
a second foot for actual water deliveries. The irrigation district has as 
its revenue the water rentals from the mutual companies and levies 
taxes to make up the deficit, these taxes applying on all real estate in 
cities and country, exclusive of improvements. 

In many respects there is in this irrigation project a suggestion of that 
on the lower Nile. The Colorado River draws its great volume of wa- 
ter from a drainage area that reaches almost to the Canadian line and 
which includes the whole western slope of the Rocky Mountains. Scant 
summer rain in arid America and the melting snows of the mountains 
give to the river great variability in volume of discharge, which rises 
and falls with almost clock-work regularity. The maximum discharge 
comes about June 20 each year, and the annual outpour of the river is 
about sixteen million acre feet. 

With present development there is a good margin of safety above the 
minimum flow, but at the rate development is proceeding along the 
river, it is evident to all that something in the form of storage must be 
devised in years not far distant. 


Taken as a whole, the farmers use an average of a trifle over three 
acre feet per acre a year, the maximum demand being in June, July and 
August, but time undoubtedly will bring about considerable change in 
this respect. The use of water runs so extensively to summer maximum 
now because of the great acreage of cotton grown, but the tendency al- 
ready manifest toward fall and spring garden crops leads to the belief 
that cotton in the years to come will occupy a smaller percentage of the 
total area, and the more intensive culture of fall, winter and spring 
crops, and the more extensive planting of fruits, particularly grapes 
and dates, will lead to a more equitable distribution of water service 
throughout the year. 




On September 8, 1901, Mr. J. E. Carr opened the first school in Im- 
perial Valley under a ramada, roofed with arrow-weeds and that roof 
supported by eight poles, not far from the present city of Calexico. He 
enrolled fifty boys and girls, many of whom came trudging across the 
desert for four and five miles. 

In the fall of 1903 John W. Shenk, now a judge of the Superior 
Court of Los Angeles, opened another school in the newly organized 
Calexico School District. His school house was a tent about fourteen 
feet by twenty feet. It had a board floor, canvas top, sides and ends. 
The sides and ends were drawn outward and upward and attached to 
mesquite poles during school hours, except during windy weather. This 
school was located just south of the canal levee and west of the main 
traveled road at the bridge across the main canal just north of Calex- 
ico. This school opened with nearly fifteen pupils and increased to 
twenty before the close of the session in the following May. Judge 
Shenk says: "The pupils came on burros, on horseback and on foot 
from habitations not as a rule visible from the school house. Two or 
three ranch tents in the distance and the California Development Com- 
pany's building and water tank at the international boundary line were 
the only signs of civilization apparent to the eye. The pupils were ear- 
nest and eager, with but an occasional infraction of the arbitrary rules 
prescribed by the schoolmaster. Corporal punishment was seldom re- 
sorted to and when used it was, of course, with the full approval of 
the parents — obtained after the incident was closed." 

During the same year Mr. L. E. Cooley was the teacher of the school 
in the Van Horn community, somewhat west of the present town of 
Heber. This school of Mr. Cooley's was frequently spoken of as a "rag 
knowledge box" — a name fully indicative of the kind of structure in 
which the school was taught. 


These three schools were all that Imperial Valley afforded up to the 
close of the school year 1902-1903. But from this time on the popula- 
tion increased rapidly and just as rapidly were the facilities for the 
education of the pioneer children provided. 

During the summer of 1907 the County of Imperial was formed from 
the eastern part of San Diego County. The first teacher of the Imperial 
Valley became the first county superintendent of schools. 

Under his supervision the following school districts opened and 
maintained schools during the school year of 1907- 1908: Adair, Alamo. 
Brawley, Calexico, Central, Colorado, Eastside, El Centro, Elder, Eu- 
calyptus, Heber, Holtville, Imperial, Jasper, Picacho, Silsbee and Sun- 
set Springs. The Spruce School District had been previously formed, 
but maintained no school that year and the Old Beach School District 
was suspended and somewhat later ceased to exist. The Imperial Val- 
ley Union High School at Imperial was the only high school in the 
county during this first year of the county's existence. 

The elementary schools enrolled one thousand sixty-seven boys and 
girls and employed thirty-eight teachers. The high school enrolled for- 
ty-eight pupils, who were taught by three teachers. 

The elementary schools were maintained at an expense of $22,201.06 
for maintenance and an expense of $9,129.96 for sites, buildings and 
furniture, and the high school at an expense of $4,782.93 with but $200 
spent for building purposes. 

The total amount of elementary school property was estimated to be 
worth $51,965 and the high school property was valued at $7,555, mak- 
ing a total valuation of all school property of $59,520. 

During the administration of Superintendent J. E. Carr the schools 
showed a remarkable growth in every respect, including the number of 
schools, enrollments, valuations of school property, number of teach- 
ers employed and efficiency of education generally. 

In January of 191 1, Superintendent Carr was succeeded by Superin- 
tendent Lewis E. Cooley, another of the triumvirate of pioneer Impe- 
rial Valley teachers. At the time Superintendent Cooley began his work 
in the county office Imperial Valley had come to "blossom as the rose,"' 
agriculturally and educationally. Thirty- four elementary school dis- 
tricts were employing sixty-three teachers and had an enrollment of 
seventeen hundred ninety pupils. There were five union high schools, 


employing twenty-six teachers, and with an enrollment of two hundred 
thirty-eight pupils. The educational foundation had been laid and the 
superstructure started. But big and worth while work was yet to be 
done. For four years Superintendent Cooley gave of himself liberally 
and well in the handling of the mighty tasks that fell to his lot. He was 
then succeeded by the writer in January, 191 5. 

Figures are not yet available for the year 1917-1918, but the annual 
report of the year 1916-1917 shows a remarkable growth when com- 
pared with those of the first year of the county's history. 

Imperial County now has fifty elementary school districts and last 
year employed one hundred sixty-seven teachers, with an enrollment of 
four thousand one pupils. She spent $167,848 for maintenance of them 
and $58,372 for buildings, sites and equipment. 

She has five union high schools and last year employed fifty-eight 
teachers, with eight hundred thirty-six young men and women enrolled. 
She had one evening high school that enrolled five hundred men and 
women for study in branches mainly applicable to their own needs in 
daily life. She expended for maintenance $118,709 and $112,588 for 
extensions of union high school plants. 

The elementary schools owned school plants valued at $593,004 and 
the union high school plants valued at $611,321. 

Most of these schools are located on tracts of land varying in size 
from three to eight acres in area. Careful attention has been given to 
the construction of the buildings and equipment to make them modern 
and well adapted to the educational needs of those whom they are de- 
signed to serve. Most of these schools have either an auditorium or 
two or more rooms with accordion doors between, making these rooms 
convertible into an auditorium. Practically all of them are adorned 
with trees, vines and shrubs. In some cases groves have been set out 
with the idea of making picnic grounds, as well as to serve the usual 
needs of the schools. 

On the whole the school districts are large. It is the hope that these 
districts may be kept large, thus obviating the necessity for the much- 
heralded consolidations of schools that such great lengths have been 
gone to obtain in the eastern and middle western states. It is not un- 
usual to see ten to fifteen horses — and often several burros — hitched 
about one of our schools, oftentimes in sheds that have been erected 


for their protection. The writer has seen as many as twenty-seven 
horses and burros about one school ; all of them had carried or drawn 
precious burdens to a rural temple of learning. In a few of the elemen- 
tary school districts transportation is provided at public expense. 
Doubtless the next few years will see a considerable expansion of the 
transportation facilities of school children. 

Transportation of high school pupils is now carried on by each of 
the five union high school districts; all of them own automobiles of 
their own; most of them pay certain individuals for transportation of 
themselves and some of the pupils from neighboring families, and some 
pupils are transported by contract. In a few instances pupils are trans- 
ported from homes fifteen miles distant from the high school. Thus are 
the homes kept intact, the pupils enabled to retain the benefits and 
pleasures of home life and home environments. 

Imperial County is seeking the best in courses of study for both 
the elementary and high schools. Essentials are striven for and non- 
essentials eliminated as far as possible. Our schools attempt to securely 
fasten the worth while parts of the formal subjects. In addition, we 
are stressing the teaching of agriculture, nature study and school and 
home gardening, and a strong beginning has been made in Agricultural 
Club work. 

Nor are our schools neglecting the newer subjects demanded of the 
schools. All of our high schools and many of the elementary schools 
have well taught courses in drawing, art, manual training, home eco- 
nomics, music — including, in some cases, both vocal and instrumental 
— and from time to time other desirable and needed courses are given. 

An article prepared by Principal W. T. Randall of the Central Union 
High School will give an idea of the real breadth of our high school 
courses and the courses in the other four union high schools are similar. 

"The school provides instruction in the following lines : English, four 
years, with an extra year in commercial English and another in jour- 
nalism ; history, four years, with a year in civics and economics and 
debate ; the foreign languages are Latin and Spanish ; in mathematics, 
a year's work in practical business arithmetic and four years in the 
higher and advanced subjects; music includes chorus, glee club, orches- 
tra, piano, sight singing, harmony, and history ; the sciences, involving 
full laboratory practice and interwoven with the practical affairs of 


life, are agriculture (together with a competition club), botany, chem- 
istry and a year of qualitative analysis, physics, physiology, hygiene and 
zoology. The vocational subjects meet the needs of two classes of stu- 
dents : those who elect these subjects in an academic course, and those 
who are studying them for immediate use in business. The commercial 
subjects are bookkeeping and stenography, with their arithmetic, Eng- 
lish, law, geography, history, penmanship and typewriting. Drawing is 
both free-hand and mechanical. Household arts at present are confined 
to cooking and sewing. Shop work as yet extends only to some of the 
simplest forms of carpentry, cabinet work, a little forge work and au- 
tomobile repairing. Some excellent practice in the use of a library is 
given by the efficient teacher of that subject, who has at her service 
the collections also of the city and of the county. An exceedingly home- 
like cafeteria is provided." 

Each of the five large towns of the Imperial Valley are maintaining 
well equipped and well taught kindergartens. 

Thus it will be seen that Imperial County is caring for its children 
in an educational way from the kindergartens through the four years 
of high school and beginnings have been made in junior college work. 
We expect in a short time to put the ambitious boys and girls within 
two years of obtaining a bachelor's degree without the breaking of 
home ties and the large expense of four years at college. 


Fort Yuma Indian School and Agency is located on a prominence in 
Imperial County, California, just across the Colorado River from Yu- 
ma, Arizona. In the early days it was used by the soldiers as a fort 
which was abandoned between 1878 and 1880, at which time it was 
taken possession of by the Catholic Sisters and a school established 
for the Yuma Indians. In the year 1895 the United States Government 
took possession and it was made a boarding school. 

At this time the Indians were very superstitious and it was difficult 
for them to see the advantage of the school training. There was some 
trouble in getting the children in school, but they are beginning to 
open their eyes and the majority of the parents are anxious and willing 
for their children to be in school. 


The pupils are brought in at the age of five years and are kept at 
the school until they complete the primary work. They are also trained 
along the industrial as well as the academic lines. The girls are given 
special training in housekeeping, laundering, cooking, etc., while the 
boys are given dairying, gardening, carpentry, etc. 

After completing the primary work they are transferred to non- 
reservation schools, namely, Sherman Institute, Riverside, California, 
and Phoenix Industrial School, Phoenix, Arizona, these being the near- 
est industrial schools, and are given further industrial training where 
better results are obtained through association with pupils of other 
tribes. The Yumas are clannish, cling to their own language, and prog- 
ress is slow when they remain in the boarding school after completing 
the primary work. 

Much improvement has been made to the buildings the last two years 
and the construction of new screen porches has added sufficient room 
for pupils to sleep in the open air throughout the year. 

The school farm containing 160 acres is located about one mile north 
of the school and is under cultivation. The income has been very no- 
ticeable the last six months and the garden has kept the school tables 
well supplied with fresh vegetables, pumpkins, etc. A great success has 
been made on the farm. The pupils are very fond of it and it is in great 
demand in the surrounding community. It is predicted that this school 
will produce the molasses used in most of the schools in the service 
after another year. 

The Yuma Indian Reservation lies to the north and west of the 
school. This contains 8000 acres of irrigable land under the Yuma 
Project. The soil is the best, with an abundance of water for irrigation 
and domestic purposes. 

Five years ago the Reservation was a wild wilderness of desolation. 
The Yuma Indians were considered the poorest in California. The 
government had done little for them. The tribe, now numbering 833, 
of whom 779 are full bloods, lived by raising pumpkins, watermelons, 
wheat and corn on the overflow lands of the Colorado River. Sanitary 
conditions were very bad and the death rate far exceeded the birth rate. 

In January, 1916, the entire Reservation was flooded, the Indians 
losing everything. 


By Act of Congress March 3, 191 1, 8,000 acres were allotted, a share 
of 10 acres to each Indian, and to place these lands in cultivation about 
$100 per acre must be expended in labor. After the lands are grubbed, 
cleared and leveled for irrigation their equal cannot be found in this 
country, if in the world. As an illustration: alfalfa is cut from seven 
to ten times, yielding from three-quarters to three tons per acre at each 
cutting. Alfalfa seed is a very valuable crop, yielding from four to 
eight hundred pounds of seed to the acre which sells from 18 to 35 
cents per pound. Two crops of seed can be made with two cuttings of 
alfalfa, the second crop of seed yielding from one to three hundred 
pounds per acre. Four cuttings of hay can be made with one crop of 
seed. Cotton raising has also been very successful, yielding an average 
of three-fourths to one bale per acre for long staple and one and one- 
half to two and one-half for short staple. Milo maze averages two tons 
per acre. Under the climatic conditions anything can be grown except 
products that require a damp or the extreme cold climate. 

The Yuma Indian is considered the best laborer among the Indians 
and he is on the road to prosperity, which is best shown in the follow- 
ing statistics: 

Lands irrigable 8,000 acres 

Land cultivated by Indians, March 1, 1918 1,600 acres 

Land value $200 per acre 

Crop values for 1917 $62,075.00 

Earnings, employed by others $31,555.00 

About two-thirds of the reservation is leased to whites under the 
improvement plan and about 4,400 acres of this is in cultivation. 

Every effort is being put forth to get this land cleared and in crops 
and at the close of 1918 all lands will be in cultivation with the produc- 
tion more than doubled. 

It will be one of the richest and most productive reservations for its 
size in the United States and a credit to the Service. 

Health conditions have greatly improved in the last four or five 
years with much credit due the Physician, Nurse, and Field Matron. 
The following record will be interesting in this connection : 
































Owing to climatic conditions and the location of the Fort Yuma 
School and Reservation it would be an ideal place for a sanatorium. It 
is predicted that in the near future the boarding school will be aban- 
doned, day schools established on the reservation, and a government 
sanatorium established where afflicted Indians from all parts of the 
United States can be accommodated and nursed back to health. 



In September of the year 1901, Rev. J. S. Kline was appointed to Im- 
perial as a supply. This is the first time that Imperial appears in the 
minutes. He did some preaching at Blue Lake and Calexico during the 
year. The following year no one was appointed to the charge, though 
the Rev. Kline continued to preach occasionally. In March, 1903, Rev. 
H. C. Mullen of the St. Louis Conference was transferred to the South- 
ern California Conference, and was appointed to the Imperial work 
by Bishop John W. Hamilton. Rev. Mullen arrived on the field the 16th 
day of April, and preached his first sermon in the Valley the following 
Sunday, April 19th, at Blue Lake schoolhouse to an audience of about 

The first service held in Imperial occurred on the evening of the fol- 
lowing Sunday, the 26th, in the hall over the Imperial Land Company's 
office, when an audience of about thirty were present. 

The class at Imperial was organized during the latter part of June, 
1903, with 21 members. At Blue Lake an organization was effected dur- 
ing the month of July, 1903, with a membership of 13. 

On Sunday morning, May 10, H. C. Mullen preached on the east- 
side at the home of Mr. J. S. Bridenstine to a congregation of about 20. 
He was the first person to preach in that section, having held services 
there some seven months before any other preacher had entered the 
field. The class on the eastside was organized on December 13, 1903, 
and completed on January 10, 1904. The number of charter members 
was 14. 

In July, 1903, the fifth Sunday, H. C. Mullen preached to an audi- 
ence of 30 in Brawley, the services being held in an adobe building used 
at that time as a rooming house. He continued preaching services at 
this place as opportunity offered until January, 1904, when Rev. Thos. 
Stamp of Oregon came to take charge of the work. He remained but 


six weeks, the critical condition of Mrs. Stamp's health brought him 
here, and she survived only a short time after their arrival. H. C. Mul- 
len continued to care for the Brawley work after Rev. Stamp's de- 
parture. A class of 22 charter members was organized on Sunday, April 
4, 1904. The services were held in the Cady-Lee Hall. The second 
week in May following, Rev. Andrew McAllen of the Missouri Confer- 
ence, who had been transferred to the Southern California Conference, 
took charge of this point. 

The following pastors have served since those mentioned in the pre- 
ceding lines: Stephen Stanton Myrick, October, 1905, to October, 1906; 
Charles Wentworth, October, 1906, to October, 1907; Mott Mitchell, 
October, 1907, to October, 1909; Frank Lucas, October, 1909, to Octo- 
ber, 1910; R. I. McKee, October, 1910, to October, 1912; O. M. An- 
drews, October, 1912, to October, 1913; Robert E. Wright, October, 
1913, to October, 1916; Quintin P. Royer, October, 1916, to — 


The seed from which sprang the First Methodist Episcopal Church 
of Calexico, Cal., was first planted by Rev. H. C. Mullen, who in the 
early part of the year 1903 came from the city of Imperial, once a 
month, and preached in Calexico schoolhouse, which was located at that 
time on the main canal north of the city. 

Methodism entered the city of Calexico proper when in the summer 
of 1903 Rev. McAllen was sent into the Valley, equipped with a tent, 
to begin the work of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

A lot was donated by the Imperial Investment Company on the cor- 
ner of Heffernan and Third streets, and here Rev. McAllen erected his 
tent on Saturday and prepared to preach his first sermon on the follow- 
ing day, but a wind storm arose and blew down the tent that night, and 
so the first services were held on the Sabbath in the office of the Cali- 
fornia Development Company. 

During the week following the tent was re-erected and Methodism 
was installed on the site which has been her home ever since. A Sunday 
school of about 20 members was at once organized, with Mr. E. S. Mc- 
Cullom as superintendent. This child of the church has since grown to 
be a strong, sturdy youth, with a membership of about 300. 


The church was formerly organized in August of 1903, with E. S. 
McCullom and wife, Mrs. A. N. Rankin, James and Mrs. Bragg, Lor- 
ena and Floyd Bragg as the seven charter members. Thus, after many 
difficulties, it became, by several months, the first church to be organ- 
ized in the city of Calexico. 

In the fall of 1905 Rev. O. C. Laizure became the pastor of this 
sturdy young church. It was during his pastorate that the Epworth 
League and Ladies' Aid Society were organized. It was also in the lat- 
ter part of 1905 when the task of building a permanent church building 
was begun, but, owing to the first break in the Colorado River, work 
on the building was suspended for about nine months. In the fall of 
1906, Rev. Wm. M. Harkness came to be the pastor of the church, 
work was again begun on the building and the church was completed 
and dedicated about the first of June, 1907. From that time the growth 
of the church has been rapid and is now carrying on work in all the 
various departments of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 

In addition to those named above, the following pastors have served 
this church for from one to three years each : Rev. Oliver Saylor, G. E. 
Twomley, W. W. Hull, J. N. Gostner, C. A. Norcross, A. E. Schultz 
and Albert Ore, the present pastor. 


The first services of the Episcopal Church in Brawley were held in Oc- 
tober, 1910, by the Rev. Edgar M. Rogers of Imperial, the pioneer 
Episcopal clergyman in the Imperial Valley. A meeting of interested 
women, held at the home of Mrs. Arthur P. Higgins on All Saints' 
Day, November 1, 1910, resulted in the formation of All Saints' Guild. 
And soon the name of All Saints' was decided upon as that of the con- 
gregation. The Rev. Mr. Rogers was a man of keen business sagacity, 
and under his leadership the splendid site at the junction of South Im- 
perial Avenue and the Plaza was acquired. Meantime services were 
held at the Presbyterian Church. The first officers were: Warden, Mr. 
Nelson T. Shaw, and treasurer, Mrs. Arthur P. Higgins. 

For a few months in the spring of 191 1 the Rev. Mr. Rogers was 
assisted by the Rev. Edwin B. Mott. The former resigned, however, on 
May 1, and was succeeded by the Rev. Lawrence M. Idleman. In No- 
vember he presented the first class for confirmation to the Right Rev. 



Joseph H. Johnson, D. D., S. T. D., Bishop of Los Angeles. This ser- 
vice was held at the Presbyterian Church. 

At the resignation of the Rev. Mr. Idleman the first of the year he 
was followed by the Rev. Frederick W. Pratt. During his incumbency 
the present structure, a portable chapel, was erected. The first services 
were held in it by the Rev. Mr. Pratt, April 4, 1912. He, however, was 
compelled to leave the Valley because of ill health, and late in the year 
was succeeded by the Rev. Henry Wood. About this time an organ was 
purchased and paid for by the efforts of the members of All Saints' 

On October 1, 1913, the Rev. Herbert V. Harris assumed charge of 
All Saints', holding services also at St. Matthias', Imperial. With the 
growth of the work at Brawley he relinquished the latter about the mid- 
dle of 1914. The following spring the chapel was enlarged and a vested 
choir inaugurated. The Rev. Mr. Harris resigned in May, 191 5, to go to 
Trinity Church, Orange. 

For several months in the fall of that year services were conducted 
by Mr. Carl E. Arfwedson and Mr. J. A. Harris, lay-readers. From De- 
cember of that year, however, till the next summer All Saints' was in 
charge of the Rev. Randolph Leigh. Since October 1, 1916, the services 
have been provided by the Rev. C. Rankin Barnes, with residence at El 

The officers of All Saints' for 1918 are: Lay-reader, Mr. J. A. Har- 
ris; warden, Mr. C. A. Terwilliger; clerk, Dr. A. N. Morgan; and 
treasurer, Mr. J. A. Harris. The present officers of All Saints' Guild 
are: President, Mrs. James L. Allen; vice-president, Mrs. O. B. Dun- 
ham ; secretary, Mrs. W. F. Beal ; treasurer, Mrs. Daniel Gaines. 

st. Paul's episcopal church, el centro 

After Imperial, El Centro was the second town in the Imperial Valley 
to have regular services of the Episcopal Church. The early records 
have, however, been lost, presumably in the fire described below. The 
first services were held by the Rev. Edgar M. Rogers, the pioneer Epis- 
copal clergyman in the Valley, who made his headquarters at Imperial. 
Tradition has it that the first service was held in the Oregon Hotel. 

Under the initiative of the Rev. Mr. Rogers, a meeting was held at 
the home of Mrs. W. E. Morton, February 23, 1910, which resulted in 


the organization of St. Paul's Guild. The first officers were : President, 
Mrs. A. W. Swanson ; vice-president, Mrs. Norma Richardson ; secre- 
tary, Mrs. M. Emma Pearson; treasurer, Mrs. W. E. Morton. And 
from that time to the present St. Paul's Guild has continued a great 
power in the life of the congregation. It was largely by their efforts 
that the original church lots were purchased. 

The Rev. Mr. Rogers resigned May 1, 191 1, being immediately suc- 
ceeded by the Rev. Lawrence M. Idleman, who remained till Christmas 
of that year. During the early part of 1912 St. Paul's was under the 
direction of the Rev. Frederick W. Pratt. It was at this time that a 
portable chapel was erected at the southwest corner of Fifth and 
Orange. On the resignation of the Rev. Mr. Pratt, he was succeeded 
by the Rev. William Cochran, who remained in charge for about a year 
and a half. 

On December 1, 1914, he was succeeded by the Rev. Timon E. 
Owens, who lived at Imperial and was in charge of the two congrega- 
tions till June 1 of the following year. During the season 1915-16 the 
clergyman in charge was the Rev. Randolph Leigh, but as his residence 
was at Brawley, most of the services were conducted by Mr. Charles 
E. Addis, lay-reader. All Saints' Altar Guild was organized about this 

Like that of San Francisco, the history of St. Paul's Church has two 
chapters, before and after the fire. For on the night of August 8, 1916, 
the little portable chapel burned to the ground. At first the congrega- 
tion were heartily discouraged, but decided that the crisis only served as 
an incentive to rebuilding in a more permanent way. 

The bishop named the Rev. C. Rankin Barnes as priest-in-charge 
from October 1. For four months from that date services were held at 
Mulligan's Funeral Chapel while plans were being drawn for the new 
church. The architect was Mr. Samuel B. Zimmer. Ground was broken 
December 1, and the new edifice at Fifth and Orange rushed to com- 
pletion. An attractive building, on simple lines, it represents an expen- 
diture of $4000. The new St. Paul's, as it is called, was dedicated by 
the priest-in-charge February 11, 1917. It has a long hall paralleling 
one side, which is used for the Sunday School, guild meetings and so- 
cial gatherings. 

The officers of St. Paul's for 1918 are : Lay-reader, Mr. Carl E. Arf- 



wedson ; warden, Mr. Samuel B. Zimmer; clerk, Mr. R. M. Linekin; 
treasurer, Mr. J. G. Cadman. The officers of St. Paul's Guild are : Pres- 
ident, Mrs. M. W. Conkling; vice-president, Mrs. George H. Hayward; 
secretary-treasurer, Mrs. Alfred C. Aitken. 

st. mark's episcopal church, holtville 

There is a small group of Episcopalians in Holtville organized as St. 
Mark's Mission. Organization was first effected in 1910, under the di- 
rection of the Rev. Edgar M. Rogers, an able pioneer. Lots were pur- 
chased, one of them being occupied by what is now called "the old 
schoolhouse." One room of this was converted into a chapel. 

The congregation has been cared for by different clergy living at El 
Centro or Imperial. After the departure of the Rev. Mr. Rogers these 
were the Rev. Messrs. Lawrence M. Idleman, Frederick W. Pratt, and 
William Cochran. During the administration of the last a small rectory 
was erected. During the period 1914-16 the church was without ser- 
vices, due to a shortage of clergy. 

Since October 1 occasional services have been provided by the Rev. 
C. Rankin Barnes of El Centro. 


May 18, 1908, the Right Reverend Joseph H. Johnson, D. D., S. T. D., 
Bishop of Los Angeles, visited Imperial to confer with local Episcopa- 
lians. He made a similar visit about a year later, but regular services 
were not initiated till February 13, 1910, on the arrival of the Rev. Ed- 
gar M. Rogers, the pioneer Episcopal clergyman of the Imperial Val- 
ley. For a month the Sunday services were held in the Water Company 
hall. This was the initial work of the Episcopal Church in the Valley. 
Organization was soon effected, Dr. E. E. Patten being the first war- 
den and Mr. Charles J. Jenney the first clerk. For a year services of the 
Imperial Episcopal Church, as it was called, were held at the Imperial 
Business College. During this period there was a flourishing Woman's 
Guild, which aided greatly in the work of accumulating funds for a 
permanent church building. As a result of a united effort an artistic 
building of brick and concrete was erected at the cost of $2700. The 
architect was Mr. Samuel B. Zimmer, now of El Centro. It was used 
for the first time February 24, 191 1. The date was St. Matthias' Day, 


and the church has since then always borne the name of the "Thirteenth 

Soon after this the Rev. Mr. Rogers resigned to go to the state of 
Washington. His successor, the Rev. Lawrence M. Idleman, remained 
only from May 1 till Christmas. During 191 2 the Rev. Frederick W. 
Pratt was in charge of St. Matthias' until compelled to resign on ac- 
count of ill-health. During the first half of 1913 the Rev. Henry Wood 
was in charge. At this time the church was freed from debt, and was 
consecrated by Bishop Johnson on February 23, the eve of St. Matthias' 

On October 1, 1913, the Rev. Herbert V. Harris assumed charge of 
the work, and during his incumbency the little rectory was built. He 
was also in charge of All Saints' Church, Brawley, and after the mid- 
dle of 1914 was given charge of that work only. Late in that year the 
Rev. Timon E. Owens was appointed to St. Matthias', but only re- 
mained for six months. From December, 1915, till June 1, 1916, St. 
Matthias' was under the care of the Rev. Randolph Leigh of Brawley. 
Since October 1, 1916, the services have been provided by the Rev. C. 
Rankin Barnes, with residence at El Centro. 


The religious effort which developed into the present church organiza- 
tion was a weekly preaching service and prayer meeting established by 
Rev. T. L. Taylor in the Masonic Hall, in Brawley, in the month of 
April, 1908. Rev. Taylor, who had removed from San Pedro, Califor- 
nia, in December, 1907, sought to begin a Baptist work immediately on 
his arrival, but the Methodists and Presbyterians were occupying the 
Masonic Hall, the only available place in town in which to conduct 
services. The following April, however, the Methodist folk moved into 
their newly finished church house, thus making room for the Baptist 
services in the hall. Services were continued in Masonic Hall for a 
while, then in Rev. Taylor's home, and later in the public school build- 

When the Baptists began to plan for a church organization they 
were told by some that the town already had more churches than it 
could support. But Baptists are rather persistent, and went ahead and 
organized a regular Baptist Church, January 10, 1909, with ten charter 



members, as follows : Rev. T. L. Taylor, Ethel Perryman, Lena Taylor, 
W. J. Taylor, Curt Holland, Lee T. Holland, Mrs. S. E. Wheelan, P. 
W. Ward, Minnie McKeehn, and Lackey Darnell. Rev. T. L. Taylor 
was chosen as pastor and Curt Holland as church clerk. 

Plans for a church home were put on foot. One lot was purchased 
and another was given by the Brawley Building Loan and Improvement 
Company, and the present structure was built on these lots in the sum- 
mer of 1910. The work of construction was placed under a foreman. 
Part of the labor was donated by members of the church. In November 
of the same year the house was dedicated with a debt of about $1250. 
The Home Mission Society was appealed to, which responded with a 
donation of $500 and a loan of $500. The debt of $750 thus left on the 
house has been paid a little each year, the last installment of which was 
raised October 28 of this year. It gives the church great joy to come to 
the ninth anniversary with no debt and with a small balance in the 

Since the organization of the church five pastors have served. Rev. 
T. L. Taylor had the honor of being the first, and served the church for 
three years and five months, resigning June 10, 1912. In the interim 
Rev. Amos Robinson and Mr. Frederick Rapson supplied the pulpit. 
October 13, 1912, Rev. Carl Bassett, a licentiate of Calvary Baptist 
Church, Los Angeles, was called to be pastor and ordained by the 

Rev. Bassett served the congregation about a year and resigned. The 
church then called Rev. John Boyd, who served as pastor from Septem- 
ber 6 to June or July, 1914. Rev. A. F. Wallis next took charge of the 
church in September following Rev. Boyd's resignation, and continued 
till November, 1916. The church was then without a pastor until March, 
when the present incumbent, D. W. Beberly, took charge as supply pas- 
tor during the Ilermiston meetings, and was regularly chosen April 4, 

The church has been prosperous as could be expected in a transient 
district in which constructive work on the ranches and in business is 
the watch-word. It has had its ups and downs, but more ups than 
downs. Under Rev. Taylor it increased to fifty odd members; the mem- 
bership also increased materially under Rev. Bassett. The rest of the 
ministers contributed their part toward the church's growth. The pres- 


ent membership is 104. And now since we are out of debt, and since we 
are getting our departments into a better organized and modernized 
shape, we are looking forward to a period of genuine prosperity and 
permanent, intelligent advancement along all lines of the highest type of 
church growth. 

The average attendance of the Sunday School is sixty-five. The B. Y. 
P. U. and Woman's Missionary Circle are successfully doing good 
work. Since Mr. Beverly took charge forty odd members have joined 
the church. 


The Free Methodist Church of Brawley was organized by District El- 
der David McLeod in 1912, with eleven charter members, as follows: 
C. H. Ruth, Grace Ruth, Levina Bailey, Electa Robb, E. M. Robb, 
Carrie Robb, W. N. Jones, Clara Jones, Rachel Lyall, Wm. Nixon, J. 
P. Heil. In 191 3 a nice, well-furnished church with two lots, on the 
corner of Imperial and D streets, was purchased from the Nazarene 
Church. D. D. Dodge served as pastor in 1912 and D. A. Heck in 1913, 
and S. W. Stone in 1914. F. A. Ames, the present pastor, is closing his 
third year and has seen the membership grow from eight full members 
and two probationers to seventeen full members and fourteen proba- 
tioners. While S. W. Stone was pastor a parsonage was built. 

There is an active Woman's Foreign Missionary Society, with Mrs. 
Grace Ruth as president. A flourishing Sunday School is doing good 
work with forty members. The church property is free from debt. The 
pastor has a Sunday afternoon appointment in the schoolhouse at 
Westmoreland, and a regular Sunday evening street meeting is held in 
Brawley, which is largely attended. 


Brawley, previous to December 13, 1908, offered no church to the small 
Catholic population. On December 13, 1908, a modest wooden structure 
witnessed the first services. Mass was celebrated by Rev. F. Bewel- 
bach, who then made his residence in El Centro. January 18, 1910, 
Father Bewelbach took up his residence at Brawley. After zealous la- 
bors and co-operation of his good people, he was able to erect the beau- 
tiful edifice which now stands as a memorial to his zeal. The new 


church was completed and dedicated by the late Rt. Rev. Thos. J. 
Conaty, D. D., bishop of Monterey and Los Angeles, in the latter part 
of 1912. Father Bewelbach's desire now was to erect a schoolhouse 
where the Catholic children could be educated in their religion and 
receive the mental equipment necessary for their success in life. This 
cherished hope was realized in the latter part of 191 5, when the beauti- 
ful school building now standing adjacent to the church was dedicated 
and opened to the children. The Sacred Heart Church and school are 
the pride and boast of not only the Catholic people, but also of the non- 
Catholics who contributed so generously to the undertaking. Father 
Bewelbach resigned his pastoral office July 15, 1917, and was succeeded 
by Rev. J. A. Martin, the present incumbent. The parish is growing in 
leaps and bounds. Its school facilities, under the able direction of the 
sisters of St. Joseph, of Eureka, California, are extended to and en- 
joyed by non-Catholic children as well as Catholics. 



In the early days of Imperial Valley one would think that books would 
have little part in the busy and strenuous days of the pioneer, but we 
find as early as 1905, a great desire for the companionship of books 
manifested itself and the small settlement in El Centro made applica- 
tion to the state library for one of their traveling libraries. This was 
sent shortly and placed in the first business building erected in El Cen- 
tro, a hardware store which also housed the postoffke. 

Mrs. J. Stanley Brown, the wife of the owner of the building, be- 
came the custodian of the traveling library. Each month a new library 
of fifty books came from the state library and the old books were re- 
turned. In 1907 the library was moved to the book and stationery 
store of Albert Durham. This store was in the room now occupied by 
J. L. Travers. The old jail on Fifth street, which was opposite the Holt 
Opera House, provided the next home for the books. Later on as busi- 
ness increased in El Centro, the library was again homeless, and an ap- 
peal was made to its first benefactress, Mrs. Brown, located at 663 
Olive Street, to take charge again, which she did. At this time, Phil D. 
Swing took the initial steps to procure a Carnegie Library building. 
During the time of this procedure the books were moved to the back 
room of Mr. Durham's present place of business on Sixth Street. Miss 
Merle Whitescarver became the custodian and the library business was 
carried on here until the completion of the Carnegie building. 


In the early days in Imperial Valley, when most of the homes were 
tents very limited in space, the question of where our men and boys 


would spend their spare time and evenings, was finally solved by a few 
earnest women banded together in the work of the W. C. T. U. lUeir 
names ought to certainly go down in the history of these early begin- 

"'"iSremost in this early activity appears the names of Mrs. W. A Ed- 
gar, as secretary of the library, and associated with her in raising funds 
for its support is the name of Mrs. S. M. Bixby; Mrs. M P. Grove, 
who gave a musicale and realized therefrom $19.10 ; Mrs. Chaplin Mrs. 
Tout and many others who have passed from these early scenes of pio- 
neer days The reading room opened in October, 1906, under the aus- 
pices of the W C T U. Rev. W. H. Wales donated a large number of 
volumes as a start toward a library. A small room was rented from 
W G Mugf ord, one of the old pioneers who has now gone to his final 
rest The room stood about where the Imperial Pharmacy now stands. 
Within a year the little room became so well patronized that it was 
necessary to move into a more commodious location. A social was 
given to which the price of admission was a book, or the price of a 
book and that added considerably to the list of reading matter. Re- 
quests for subscriptions to newspapers and magazines were generously 
responded to by the publishers. The running expenses were met by pop- 
ular subscription. Mrs. Tout, the wife of the pastor of the Christian 
Church at that time, and who has passed beyond, was a very energetic 
worker for the little reading room which was put under the charge of 
Mrs. S. M. Bixby. 

Mrs D D. Lawrence was the first salaried custodian of the reading 
room It was not long until the requirements grew beyond the possibili- 
ties of the little reading room, and through the efforts of those inter- 
ested in this primitive library, the board of city trustees was persuaded 
to apply to Andrew Carnegie for a fund for a library building. This 
request was complied with early in the year of 1908, and about a year 
later Mr. Carnegie placed $10,000 at the disposal of the library board. 
This was the first library established in the Imperial Valley. 

The subscription library, supplemented by a collection of traveling 
library books from the state library, continued to supply our fast grow- 
ing populace with good literature until it merged into the Carnegie 
Public Library, and was formally opened to the public April 3, 1909. 
The library continued in rented quarters until the completion of a 


Carnegie Library building when it was formally opened in December, 
1910. The grounds planted to trees, shrubs and flowers are well cared 
for and present an inviting feature. 

As the library is an integral part of education the co-operation of 
schools and library is made a special feature of classes from the high 
schools which are instructed in the use and arrangement of books. The 
story hour for the children, the Audubon Club for the older ones, the 
child's study club for the mothers, are all under the direction of Mrs. 
Hatch, who has brought the library to its present and efficient condi- 


In February, 1912, the supervisors established the County Library 
with headquarters at the county seat, El Centro, in the Public Library. 
Imperial County was the sixteenth county library to be established in 
the state. Miss Anne Madison (now Mrs. Thomas B. Beeman) was ap- 
pointed County Librarian. 

No funds were available until the following September, but the State 
Library made a loan of 885 books, to give us a start. Permission was 
granted by the library board of the El Centro Public Library to loan 
us some of their books, so some of the state library books were placed 
on the shelves of the public library and some of their books sent with 
the rest of the state books to three established branch libraries : Braw- 
ley, Calexico and Holtville. 

In Brawley, on April 15, 1912, a branch was established on Main 
Street in a small store just below the bungalow hotel, Miss Frances 
Clippinger being appointed custodian. Book cases and the necessary 
furniture were donated by the people of the town. The club women do- 
nated a book case, full of books, which contained many books by stan- 
dard authors. A reception was given in the evening and speeches were 
delivered by well known people of Brawley and El Centro, and by the 
County Librarian, who explained the whole system of the county free 
library. This branch was moved from one place to another until 1914, 
when it was moved to the beautiful new quarters in the new city hall. 
The Brawley Women's Club donated $100.00 worth of furniture, and 
the city fathers furnished the rest room adjoining the library. 


At Holtville about one dozen books were found in the old city hall 
building which were remnants of a small library they had had. On May 
27th 1912, a branch was established in the old city hall with Mrs. Ida 
Robinson in charge. A reception similar to that held in Brawley was 
given and in 1918 this branch was moved to pleasant and commodious 
quarters in the new city hall. 

In the county library service the object is to reach everyone in the 
county to extend' this free book service. The schools needed this ser- 
vice so the law provided for the schools a plan whereby they could re- 
ceive the free service of the books by turning over their books and 
library fund yearly. 

In 1912 three schools took advantage of this plan. Today in 191 8, 
out of the fifty school districts all but five are affiliated with the County 
Library. In 1913 more than fifteen other places had been provided with 
books, these being placed in stores, postoffices, drug stores, schools and 
homes. At Imperial Junction (which is now Niland) a unique branch 
was established in February, 191 3. Finding no available quarters, a box 
car standing on a side track which was used for a postoffice provided 
the location for our branch there. The branch proved very popular in a 
year's time and larger quarters were secured and the branch was moved 
to a store which had been erected in the meantime. In 1918 it still has 
a branch at the store for the adults and one at the school for the chil- 

Alamo school library, which was located in the school house, had to 
find new quarters on account of the crowded condition of the schools. 
The very enterprising young custodian in charge enlisted the interest 
of everyone living within a radius of fifteen miles, and as a result, a 
portable one-room building fitted up with book shelves and attractive 
interior, was purchased by these people and placed on the school 
grounds. It has become one of the most thriving of our branches. A 
school library at Bard, situated on the Colorado river, has to have its 
books ferried across the river. The horse and wagon carrying the books 
drive right onto the ferry and are ferried across. 

Great care has been exercised in the purchase of books so as to get 
the books which the people demand in good authentic editions and by 
the best authorities, and at the same time as economically as possible. 
The aim is not to buy every book a person may ask for, but to build up 


the library so that it will be a well-balanced library on different sub- 
jects. For the more expensive books and particularly books called for 
occasionally, requests are made to the state library to supply such 
books. Specialties are made on some subjects, for instance: everything 
practical on agriculture is bought. Books on California are freely 
bought. Everything on Imperial County which is printed from a news- 
paper to a book is preserved. The library, like any other business, has 
to be advertised. For this purpose the newspapers have been used 
freely. A booth was established at the County Fair. Talks were given 
by the County Librarian at schools and clubs, and many window dis- 
plays have been shown. 

Custodians' meetings are held at least once a year at headquarters. 
At these meetings library work in all its phases is discussed. Six 
months training courses have been given by the county library to pro- 
vide trained assistants for the work. 

In 1916 the county library moved its headquarters from the public 
library to the Wilson grammar school building on West Main street. 
In 1917 this building became crowded and new quarters were provided 
in the high school building, where the county library is now located. 
New service is called for at all times. The county farm, which cares for 
the sick people, has its collection of books. Surveying parties working 
for the government sent word they wanted some books about ten miles 
out on the desert. Books were sent them. The soldiers on our border, 
at Calexico, have been provided with small branch libraries at their 
camps. The clubs of the valley are all provided with material for their 
various programs and entertainments. 

Students taking correspondence courses from the University of Cali- 
fornia are given individual book service and furnished with the books 
they need to aid them in their special subjects. The high schools be- 
longing to the debating league have been supplied with plenty of ma- 
terial for each subject debated. 

Since the war a very active part has been taken by the county library 
in teaching conservation of food. Window displays on saving of meat, 
sugar, oils and fats, gardens, etc., have been given with gratifying re- 

No books go to waste. Even though they are too worn to rebind, 
these worn out books are sent to the county jail and county hospital. 


The county library serves as a big school for all the people whether 
they are in school or have graduated with high honors. 

Total volumes in the County Library January 30, 1917, were 15,092; 
number of branch libraries in the county number 58 ; number of schools 
affiliated with the County Library number 44; first start of El Centro 
Public Library, February 21, 1907; ordinance passed establishing free 
Public Library June 29, 1909; total cost of building, $11,349-26 ($10,- 
00000 gift from Carnegie) ; appropriation from taxes first year, $3,- 
000 00 ( 1917-1918, $5,500.00) ; number of volumes in library first year, 
703- March 1918, 7,717; circulation first year, 700 volumes; circula- 
tion' 1917-1918, 40,363 ; cardholders first year, 91 ; cardholders March, 
1918 4271; first board of trustees: W. C. Whitescarver, Phil D. 
Swing Mrs. J. Stanley Brown, John Norton, Dan V. Noland; present 
board' J J. Simmons, president; A. W. Swanson, secretary; B. Salo- 
mon, Franklin Reading, Chas. L. Childers; first librarian, Miss Merle 
Whitescarver ; present librarian, Miss Agnes F. Ferris. 


On June 3, 1908, a number of ladies met to organize a club, one pur- 
pose of which was to open a reading and rest room. Through the me- 
dium of various entertainments and the untiring efforts of the various 
club members who were called on frequently to devote time, material, 
and labor, an adobe building, formerly a noted pool hall and blind pig, 
was secured at a nominal rental, and here was established a reading and 
rest room which are well patronized. The first year, through the efforts 
of one woman, the subscription for seventeen magazines was secured. 
The Imperial Valley Improvement Company presented four comfort- 
able rocking chairs to the reading room. 

Up to 191 1 the reading and rest rooms were maintained entirely by 
the Woman's Improvement Club. In 191 1 Mr. Whalen, the new super- 
intendent of the Los Angeles division of the Southern Pacific railway, 
became interested in the reading room as a place for his men in leisure 
hours, and through his influence the Southern Pacific practically do- 
nated'the use of the building, furnished ice and water, all of which ex- 
penses were formerly borne by the Woman's Club. 


In 1912 the Calexico library became a part of the state and county 
library, and the librarian was paid by the county, another burden being 
removed from the shoulders of the financial committee of the club 


Application for a gift from the Carnegie Corporation was made in 
February, 191 5, and a promise of $10,000 was received that spring. 
Plans were made for a $10,000 library building, but proceedings were 
halted through the inability of Calexico to furnish a site as required by 
the Carnegie Corporation. With the acqusition of Rockwood Plaza as 
a park and civic center this difficulty was removed, and in February, 

1917, the City of Calexico dedicated a library site in the northwest cor- 
ner of the south half of Rockwood Plaza. A new obstacle now appeared 
in the fact that construction costs had soared to such an extent since 
the approval of the original plans that it was impossible to count on 
constructing the building they called for with less than $15,000. An 
effort was then made to secure an increase in appropriation, which the 
extraordinary growth of Calexico appeared to justify. The Carnegie 
Corporation, however, saw fit to deny a further sum, and it became 
necessary to draw entirely new plans for a building about three-fourths 
the size of the one originally contemplated. In due time the new plans 
were approved, and on November 5, 191 7, bids were opened for the 
construction work. The lowest total sum, omitting certain features, 
which the library board felt justified in making, was $12,337.61. It was 
decided to pay the excess amount from the library fund of the City of 
Calexico which had been accumulating since 1915. Permission to do 
this was obtained from the Carnegie Corporation, and contracts were 
let. The general contract was practically concluded on February 20, 

1918, but to date a few other items remain uncompleted, and consider- 
able of the furniture has not arrived, due to freight congestion in the 

The building is a two-story affair, with the lower story half in base- 
ment, and is of a semi-Spanish Mission style of architecture. It is con- 
structed of hollow tile, the exterior being finished in white plaster, and 
the roof of red clay tile. The main floor plan is patterned quite closely 
after certain requirements of the Carnegie Corporation, and has adults' 
and children's reading rooms separated by the librarian's booth. 



The spectacular incidents connected with the reclamation of the desert 
and with the subduing of the turbulent Colorado have given Imperial 
Valley a charm of romance that is hard to equal. A history of agricul- 
ture under such conditions must be a story of human interest as well as 
a statistical record of development, for the tabulation of crop values 
and crop increases, or a simple study of varieties and yields would 
neglect the record of human endeavor which has overcome obstacles 
well nigh insurmountable. The spirit of the pioneer who traveled across 
the wind-blown wastes to build homes and schools in the board and 
canvas shanties of the pre-railroad days is the real force that has made 
possible the remarkable development in Imperial Valley agriculture. 

The rich natural resources in climate, soil and water furnished the 
necessary raw material for the fashioning of most productive farms by 
the pioneers. The farming was at first rather crude, but in fifteen years 
the production has gone from nothing to an annual output of over 
twenty million dollars' worth of farm products. On account of the 
roughness of some of the lighter soils the harder clay soils were the 
first to be farmed, and many discouragements were encountered during 
the early days. As the valley settled up the rougher areas were leveled 
and put into crop, so that now over four hundred thousand acres are 
under cultivation. The barley and grain sorghums of the early days, 
although still of importance, do not command the same relative place 
with other crops. 

There is no agricultural area in the world where the climatic condi- 
tions are more extreme than in Imperial Valley. Located below sea 
level, with a record of humidity below that of the Nile Valley, with an 
annual rainfall varying from two to three inches, and with temperatures 
as high as are recorded in any agricultural area, Imperial Valley at least 
presents conditions that are unusual. The early spring and long growing 


season make specialization possible. Imperial Valley has become famous 
for its production of out-of-season crops, such as cantaloupes, early- 
table grapes or lettuce, for the crops of high value and unusual interest 
such as dates and cotton, and for the large yields of field crops made 
possible by the long growing season. 

The low humidity, fewer cloudy days, the greater intensity of sun- 
light, and the higher temperatures associated with the lack of rainfall 
in this arid belt, produces an environment widely different from the 
conditions in the rainfall sections of the South or Middle West, or in the 
semi-arid sections of California. The following table gives a general 
comparison between the meterological conditions in Imperial Valley 
and other sections: 


B ■' if • el I • s s 1 

•S-2 | .IS. .go, ea || .ia sl 

08 £ S|.gE SB s!s .S.S S.S 

ZS SShShSh S2 S2 22 

Calexico 10 o 121 18 61.6 9.3 .64 3.58 

Merced 36 173 120 16 53.2 23.7 4.2 10.3 

Phoenix, Ariz 10 1068 119 17 69 

Cairo, Egypt 10 100 112 31 67 

Greenville, Miss 38 397 105 5 64 66.6 32.32 48.01 

Savannah, Georgia .... 58 65 105 8 65.5 73.3 33.5 40.42 

Irrigation has had a slight effect on the relative humidity of the Val- 
ley, and it is probable that as the irrigated area extends the humidity 
may continue to rise slightly, enough perhaps to allow sensitive crops to 
grow which at present do not find congenial conditions in Imperial Val- 
ley. This increased humidity, due to irrigation, has proved to be entire- 
ly local, however, as the amount of evaporation from the irrigated area 
has not been sufficient to affect the climatic conditions in the general 
locality. A study of the change of humidity from the desert to the cen- 
tral portion of the Valley shows a decided difference, a rather abrupt 
change occurring on the line between the desert and the irrigated area. 
The humidity immediately about the plants in the field is often high on 
account of the rapid evaporation from the irrigated land and on account 
of the rapid transportation of moisture from the leaves. 


The distinct advantages offered by the climate in Imperial Valley are 
the earliness and the long growing season. These were soon capitalized 
by the settlers, who developed early truck which soon surpassed the 
records from other States. Imperial Valley became known as the can- 
taloupe paradise of the country, and over five thousand cars were 
shipped from the Valley in 1917. Other truck was developed and is rap- 
idly gaining ground. Live-stock of course became an important part of 
the Valley's industries, for the long season for pasture and the large 
yields of forage to be secured offered very favorable conditions for cat- 
tle, hogs and dairy stock. The extreme heat and intense sunlight during 
the early summer months were too severe for certain sensitive plants 
such as the avocado or the mango, and trials of these and other similar 
fruit failed, although these same conditions have proved congenial to 
the date, which bids fair to be one of the important outputs in the near 

The development of agriculture in any country is more or less gov- 
erned by the soil conditions found in the particular localities, and Im- 
perial Valley is not an exception to the rule. The soils are rich from the 
standpoint of mineral plant food elements, and if properly handled are 
very productive. The types vary from the heavy clay, which is exceed- 
ingly fine and hard to work, to the loosest sands, which are porous and 
contain little organic matter. The kind of crop grown is determined 
largely by the type of soil. The truck and fruit planting are located on 
the sands and sandy loams, while the grains, both barley and wheat in 
winter and milo or corn in the summer, on the clay loams and clays. 
All of the soils are deficient in organic matters, as would be expected, 
and alfalfa is therefore used almost universally as a humus producer. 
Land that has been in alfalfa for years is worth far more than raw land 
for truck, cotton or fruit, and is, of course, in great demand. The addi- 
tion of organic matter, especially through the growing of alfalfa, proved 
not only important, but necessary in the early history of the Valley. 

Much confusion occurred during the early days on account of the re- 
ported presence of excessive alkali salts. History has proved that these 
salts do exist in excessive quantities in certain portions of the Valley, 
while as a whole the agricultural area is comparatively free from exces- 
sive quantities for ordinary field crops. 

A discussion of agriculture in Imperial Valley would not be complete 


without a word regarding the water for irrigation. There is no stream 
in America which carries more silt per unit volume than does the mud- 
dy Colorado. The silt is both a valuable fertilizer in the fields and a 
menace in the ditches. Although the silts carried by the canals carry 
more fertility than is removed from the soil by cropping, the annual 
cost to the irrigation district is approximately half a million dollars. 
The Arizona experiment station has figured that the silt carried by the 
river would annually build a barrier sixty feet high over an area a mile 
square if deposited in one place. In addition to being valuable as a fer- 
tilizer this silt has prevented the rapid rise of water table so common in 
other sections, by filling up the soil pores and thus preventing too rapid 
penetration. The silt at the same time has made many of the harder 
clay soils more mellow by the deposit of sandy material on the soil 

The plentiful supply of water in the river has not always been avail- 
able during the late summer or early fall, on account of the lack of a 
proper diversion works in the river. Water is, of course, the life of the 
country, and large losses have occurred through diversion troubles. 
The fact that there is plenty of water in the river for use at any time 
during the year is a tremendous asset, as is fully realized. 

No experimental data existed to help the farmers of Imperial Valley 
in meeting the new problems which constantly arose. Farmers' institutes 
were held during the early days, and these meetings were well attended. 
This gave way to more local meetings in school-houses as occasion 
arose. These local meetings have grown into the Farm Bureau, which 
now has a membership of about seven hundred. In order to study the 
effects of local climatic conditions on crop growth and to secure reliable 
information regarding varieties best suited to the section, the State 
Legislature provided funds for the establishment of an agriculture ex- 
periment station farm of forty acres located at Meloland. This station 
is still in operation and is working on some of the fundamental prob- 
lems of the region. Several reports have been printed as a result of the 
work carried on at the experiment farm covering variety trials, soils 
and irrigation work, insect control and cultural requirements. 

Imperial Valley was settled in a large part by those who did not have 
a large amount of capital. Most of the early settlers were dependent 
upon early returns from the land, or upon work furnished on neighbor- 


ing farms or by the California Development Company. This fact, to- 
gether with a lack of knowledge regarding crop adaptability, prevented 
a large planting of fruit, which required time before returns would be 
forthcoming. The Valley was therefore almost entirely devoted to grain 
and alfalfa. Barley and wheat were the winter crops and grain sorghums 
and alfalfa were the summer crops. Alfalfa was usually planted as soon 
as the land was properly leveled, barley being grown on land as the 
first crop after leveling. 

The early farming methods were not the best. It was not uncommon 
for a farmer to broadcast barley on newly leveled land, disc it in and 
irrigate it up, harvest the crop and rely for three or four years on a 
volunteer crop by discing and irrigating in the fall without further 
planting. Results from these careless methods did not do justice to the 
agricultural possibilities of the Valley, but produced a profit on the 
small investment. An early attack of rust prevented the extension of the 
wheat acreage, so that barley was the main and practically the only 
winter crop grown during the early days. Barley was disced into the 
alfalfa during the fall and produced a good winter pasture at a time 
when the alfalfa grew slowly, besides making a valuable combination 
crop in the spring. This practice is still followed and with good results. 
The acreage in barley is diminishing as the acreage in other crops in- 
creases. Large areas of the harder soils are still devoted to barley. Bar- 
ley is still a valuable crop on diversified ranches where a small lot is 
planted in the ordinary rotation to furnish grain or hay for the stock. 
The farm binder is becoming more common and the old time combine is 
gradually losing its place. 

As stated above, alfalfa usually followed barley as the second crop 
following leveling. Alfalfa is the foundation of Imperial Valley agricul- 
ture, for it not only is one of the universal crops, a crop which pays 
well, but is the basis of nearly all rotation schemes. Bermuda grass is 
perhaps its greatest enemy, but when plowed up every four or five years 
the Bermuda can be effectively controlled and the regular crop produc- 
tion maintained. 

Alfalfa is cut from five to nine times in Imperial V alley and produces 
from three to ten tons per acre per year. Taking good and bad land to- 
gether, the average yield has been about four to four and a half tons 
per acre. The yields vary of course with the type and soil and the treat- 


ment given. The sandy loams have proven to be the best soil for alfalfa 
as for most other crops. In addition to the hay crop alfalfa furnishes a 
valuable winter pasture. Thousands of head of stock are brought in 
each winter to fatten on the hay stored up from summer cuttings. The 
winter pasture is usually sold in connection with the hay, the cattle 
feeding on the pasture and being fed hay at the same time. Most of the 
alfalfa in the Valley is pastured at some time of the year. On dairy and 
hog ranches the fields are pastured constantly, a system of rotation of 
field giving the alfalfa a time to recover between pasturings. 

During the early days alfalfa was planted in contour checks where 
the land was at all rough, but this has been changed so that nearly all 
of the fields are irrigated by the straight border method. The borders 
are usually forty to sixty feet wide and from an eighth to a half mile 
long. During the winter the alfalfa is watered infrequently, but during 
the growing period water is applied from one to three times a cutting. 
On hard soil two irrigations are usually required, while on sandy soil 
one irrigation will usually produce a crop. 

Grain sorghums have become established as the summer grain crop. 
Milo predominates, although some Egyptian corn, feterita and kaffir 
corn is raised. The grain sorghums furnish a satisfactory substitute for 
Indian corn and are easily and cheaply harvested and are therefore very 
satisfactory under Imperial conditions. Most of the grain sorghum is 
fed in the Valley, although some is shipped out to be sold as chicken 
feed. The stalks are usually pastured off by cattle, sheep or hogs. The 
stalks make a cheap feed for young growing stock. 

The grain sorghums are planted from April to the last of July. Spring 
planting will mature a crop in July, which allows for an additional vol- 
unteer crop. From half to two tons are secured per acre from the fall 
crop. The advisability of attempting to secure two crops in a season 
has not been universally accepted as good agriculture. 

Cotton is one of the later additions to the list of important crops in 
the Valley. Although cotton was planted experimentally as early as 
1902, no commercial plantings were made until 1909, when three hun- 
dred acres were planted and a cotton gin established. Since that time the 
cotton acreage has increased rapidly. In 1910, 1400 acres were planted 
to cotton; in 191 1, 14,000 acres; and in 1917 approximately 70,000 
acres, producing 35,000 bales. Oil mills and cotton mills have been con- 



structed to care for the crop. Cotton has been especially valuable on the 
Mexican side of the line on account of the favorable labor conditions 
where Chinese could be imported and where Mexican labor was avail- 
able, and also because the cattle business which formally flourished in 
the delta region became rather hazardous on the account of the unsettled 
conditions of the country. 

A large number of varieties have been tried out and have proven sat- 
isfactory. Short cotton has always predominated in spite of a strong 
endeavor on the part of those interested in the future of the industry to 
establish a variety of superior quality. The admixture of seed resulting 
from the unregulated plantings of various varieties has resulted in a 
decided deterioration in the cotton grown. There is no cotton seed in 
the Valley in any quantity which is pure from the variety standpoint. 
Egyptian cotton is now receiving much favor on the part of many of 
the cotton growers on account of the high prices, the abnormal demand 
and because of the proven fact that Egyptian cotton will stand a water 
shortage with less damage than other varieties now grown in the Val- 
ley. The Durango cotton, which made a strong bid for supremacy, 
ranks second to the short cotton in importance at the present time. 

Cotton has proved to be a valuable addition to the crops in the Val- 
ley. It fits in well with the general crop rotation. The labor load comes 
during the late spring at the time of thinning and during the fall and 
winter at the time of picking. Some difficulty has been experienced in 
securing labor, but this difficulty has not proved so serious as at first 
anticipated. Cotton is well adapted to the small farm, and it is probable 
that the labor difficulty will be finally overcome by planting Egyptian 
cotton on small farms, where the labor of the family can be utilized in 
the harvest season. 

The early spring has, of course, developed an important truck indus- 
try. The development of the cantaloupe industry has been phenomenal. 
At present over five thousand cars are shipped from this Valley an- 
nually. These are shipped to all the important cities of the United 
States and have given the Valley considerable publicity. The early let- 
tuce is just assuming proportions. Lettuce is shipped in iced crates as 
far as Boston. Winter cabbage, onions, asparagus and peas are shipped 
in car-load lots and are rapidly becoming a larger factor in the farming 
interests of the Valley. 



The agriculture of Imperial Valley is based on sound foundation. 
The live-stock industry, including dairy, depends upon alfalfa, corn and 
barley, and these crops will always remain as important crops. Cotton 
will no doubt survive with the present extension of Egyptian cotton, 
and early truck will continue to increase in volume on account of the 
distinct advantages in earliness. 



In discussing the development of Imperial County's horticultural in- 
terests, we must take into consideration the fact that in 1900 the popu- 
lation was nothing, consequently there was nothing produced. In 1917 
the population was fifty thousand, with a production of commodities 
valued at thirty-three million dollars (about the same amount as the 
assessed valuation). This production consisted mostly of alfalfa, bar- 
ley, corn, cotton and cattle, not forgetting that these four hundred 
thousand acres had to be reclaimed from a desert waste ; all this having 
been done in seventeen years, there was very little time to devote to the 
planting of fruit trees. Since the year 1912 and including the year 1917, 
the following fruit and other trees have been brought into the county, 
according to the records of this office: 1528 almond, 4622 apple, 16,748 
apricot, 130,998 berry, 68 cherry, 4702 fig, 2088 grape, 2190 lemon, 22,- 
207 olive, 40,295 orange, 9983 peach, 8499 pear, 1485 plum, 270 prune, 
and 625,247 ornamental. A few imported date palms and many thou- 
sand date seeds have been planted. This gives an idea as to the principal 
kinds of fruit now growing in the country, at the same time many trees 
have been grown in the Valley which will increase the number consid- 
erably. During the past years nearly every kind of fruit and nuts grown 
have been planted here, and it is possible to raise at least enough of them 
for family use, with the exception of the cherry and walnut. 

On account of the extremely long hot season, fruit ripens very early, 
going on the market the first of the season with no competition, the pro- 
ducers thereby receiving very attractive returns. Grapes are one of the 
best and leading fruits of the Valley, the early varieties — Persians — be- 
gin ripening the first of June, followed closely by the Thompson seed- 
less, then the Malagas, which continue through the shipping season to 
about the last of July. Many other varieties do well here that have not 
been successfully grown in other sections of the State. Experiments are 



being made with many other varieties and there are some now very 
promising that may take the place of the present commercial varieties. 
There are one thousand and ten acres of old bearing vines and several 
hundred acres of new plantings. About one hundred and eighty cars of 
the fruit crop are shipped east each year and bring fancy prices. It is 
possible to raise three crops each season. 

Grapefruit has proven to be the best of the citrus fruits, young trees 
three years old have the size of trees in other localities twice their age 
and yield considerable fruit. There have been more grapefruit trees 
planted in this county than any other variety, as will be noted by the 
above record. The largest orchard of grapefruit consists of sixty acres. 
The long hot summer does wonders for the quality of this fruit. To give 
an uninterested person's opinion, I will quote from an expert of the 
United States Department of Agriculture, who says, "The fruit which 
you sent me have fine quality, very juicy and sweet, the flesh is tender 
and there is little rag, the rind is thin, and as a whole I should say .that 
the fruit is of a superior and pleasing quality." Very little sugar is 
needed in eating Imperial Valley grapefruit. 

Lemons do very well, growing a very juicy fruit, with thin skin and 
full of acid. 

Many varieties of oranges have been tried out, the seedlings produce 
the best quality of fruit ; however, the Washington navels ripen the first 
of November and should be picked as soon as ripe for best results. 

There are many olive trees planted in different sections of the Val- 
ley, the largest orchard consists of forty acres. Of the deciduous fruit 
the apricot is in the lead. The early varieties ripen by April the twenti- 
eth, and shipments continue until the last of May. Newcastle and Royal 
are the principal varieties. It is almost unbelievable how fast apricot 
trees grow in this Valley. With good care a year old tree is the size of a 
tree three years old in other districts. 

Nearly all varieties of peaches have been tried and the Chinese and 
southern varieties have proven to be the most profitable, however 
peaches are not considered commercially. 

Pears are being tried out on quite a large scale, one orchard consists 
of sixty acres and is reported as successful. 

This is a natural country for the fig, which produces large, firm 
quality fruit. 



Many people predict that the date industry in Imperial Valley will 
develop into one of great importance. Due to the fact that it is impos- 
sible to obtain imported date offshoots, as there is an embargo on ac- 
count of the war, it is slow to establish the business by planting seeds, 
although many promising fruits have been obtained in that way. At the 
present time there are several promising gardens here, and the fruit is 
as fine as that raised in Algeria, Arabia or any of the Sahara countries. 
It is possible to utilize many thousand acres of land not suited for agri- 
cultural crops for the growing of dates. 

Our commercial berry is the strawberry, and they do well, producing 
a fine fruit and netting the grower a handsome profit. Last season six 
cars were shipped and it is estimated for 1918 that there will be four- 
teen carloads. This county is noted for its rapid increase in develop- 
ments along all lines of production. 

Much could be said for the cantaloupe of this Valley, as this county 
produces more cantaloupes than any one State in the Union. All the 
markets of the country know of the Imperial Valley cantaloupe. In 
1917 there were thirteen thousand acres planted and over five thousand 
carloads shipped. The melons are marketed through a marketing bureau 
conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture bureau of 
markets. Planting season begins January 1, under cover, and the ship- 
ping season begins about the middle of May. 

Asparagus is one of the products of this Valley that brings the great- 
est returns to the owners of any of the present crops. The season opens 
about the fifth of February and continues for a couple of months. Early 
in the season it is not uncommon to receive one dollar and twenty-five 
cents a pound in the East. 


Well selected, strong vigorous root stock, properly planted, irrigated 
and cared for, will reduce the possible infestation, with few exceptions, 
to a minimum. Insects in many instances do their work where there has 
been neglect on the part of the caretaker. 

Many kinds of insects are listed by entomologists, preying on each 
kind of fruit trees, all the way from a few up to seventy-seven different 
insects which attack certain kinds of fruit trees. One might hesitate 
about going into the fruit business on account of the vast number of in- 


sects that are seemingly waiting to destroy the trees, but when under- 
stood and applied, perhaps one treatment will control the situation 
against all comers. 

So far the damage done by insects and other pests on the apricots is 
limited. The most serious, some seasons, are the linnets and sparrows 
eating the buds as they begin to swell early in the spring; these pests 
are rather difficult to control. Thrips do some damage, but are not of 
so very much importance to the early varieties. One serious condition 
exists which does a lot of damage, and that is when there are quantities 
enough of alkali and lack of drainage, this causes the leaves and twigs 
to die back and finally the tree succumbs. This condition would be seri- 
ous for all trees. 

Crown gall has made its appearance as it always does when trees of 
this kind are planted. The remedy is to plant trees known to be free 
from infestation. 

There is a small spider which does some damage to the date which 
can be controlled by the use of sulphur. 

Figs are quite free from destructive insects, birds and bees excepted. 
Soil conditions and humidity play considerable part in getting large 
quantities of first quality fruit as in date culture, but not to great extent. 

The insect that does the most damage, and not of very great impor- 
tance to grapes in the Valley, is the grape leaf hopper. To prevent the 
introduction of Phylloxera, a quarantine is placed against all sections 
north of the Tehachapi Mountains, not allowing grape vines or cuttings 
to enter this county from infested districts. 

The insects that prey upon the grapefruit will be the same that attack 
the entire citrus family. The scale insects that are costing many thou- 
sands of dollars annually to control in the citrus belts are not yet estab- 
lished in this Valley, yet we take the stand that where the host plant 
lives the insects are likely to live also. 

While I will admit that some of the scale insects that are very seri- 
ous in the coast region do not exist in our Valley, due to the long seasons 
of hot weather, there are other scale insects that will thrive in this cli- 
mate as is already the condition in San Joaquin Valley, to the extent 
that crops of oranges have been lost on account of this scale insect, 
there are also other valleys in the State. I refer to the Coccus citricola 
scale, which was first given the name of gray scale. It is absolutely 



necessary that strict inspection of all citrus nursery stock as well as 
citrus fruit be maintained. To much care can not be taken to keep out 
these scale insects. To reduce the risk as much as possible all citrus 
nursery stock must be defoliated and rosin washed ; where the mealy 
bugs are known to exist the trees should not only have the above treat- 
ment, but should be shipped with bare roots, or not allowed to enter the 


The State of California has enacted laws for the protection of horti- 
cultural and agricultural interests, providing for the establishing of hor- 
ticultural commissioners to enforce the laws. Sec. 2322A: "It shall be 
the duty of the county horticultural commissioner in each county, when- 
ever he shall deem it necessary to cause an inspection to be made of any 
premises, orchards or nurseries or trees, plants, vegetables, vines or 
fruits, or any fruit-packing house, storeroom, salesroom or any other 
place or article in his jurisdiction, and if found infected or infested with 
infectious diseases, scale insects or coddling moth or other insects or 
animal pests injurious to fruits, plants, vegetables, trees or vines or 
with their eggs or larva, or if there is found growing thereon the Rus- 
sian thistle or saltwort, Johnson grass or other noxious weeds, or red 
rice, water grasses or other weeds or grasses detrimental to rice culture, 
he shall in writing notify the owner or owners, or person or persons in 
charge, or in possession of the said places, or orchards or nurseries, or 
trees or plants, vegetables, vines or rice fields or fields adjacent to rice 
fields, or canals or ditches used for the purpose of conveying water to 
rice fields for the irrigation thereof, or fruit, or article as aforesaid, 
that the same are infected or infested with said diseases, insects, ani- 
mals, or other pests or any of them, or their eggs or larvae, or that the 
Russian thistle or saltwort, Johnson grass or other noxious weeds, or 
red rice, water grasses or other weeds or grasses detrimental to rice cul- 
ture is growing thereon, and requires such person or persons to eradi- 
cate or destroy or to control to the satisfaction of the county horticul- 
tural commissioner." 

Sec. 2322F : "Any person, persons, firm or corporation who shall re- 
ceive, bring or cause to be brought into any county or locality of the 
State of California from another county or locality within said State 



any nursery stock, trees, shrubs, plants, vines, cuttings, grass, scions, 
buds, or fruit pits, or fruit or vegetables, or seed for the purpose of 
planting or propagating the same, or any or all such shipments of nur- 
sery stock, shrubs, trees, plants, vines, cuttings, grafts, scions, buds or 
fruit pits, or fruit or vegetables, or seed or containers thereof or other 
orchard appliances which the county horticultural commissioner or the 
State commissioner of horticulture may consider liable to be infested 
or infected with dangerous insect pests or plant diseases or noxious 
weed seeds, and which if so infested or infected would constitute a 
dangerous menace to the orchards, farms and gardens of the county or 
State, shall immediately after the arrival thereof notify the county com- 
missioner of horticulture, his deputy or nearest inspector of the county 
in which such nursery stock, or fruit or vegetable or seed are received 
of their arrival, and hold the same without unnecessarily moving or 
placing such articles where they may be harmful for immediate inspec- 
tion by such county commissioner of horticulture, his deputy, inspec- 
tor, or deputy quarantine officer or guardian." 

Sec. 2322J : "Any person, persons, firm or corporation violating any 
of the provisions of this act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall 
be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not exceed- 
ing six months, or by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars or by 
both fine and imprisonment." 




President, Mike Liebert 
Vice-President, W. R. Lienau 
Treasurer, Frank Vander Poel 
Secretary, A. E. Madison 


Mesquite Lake, 

South Fern, 
Mt. Signal, 
La Verne, 


A. H. Smithson, 
Jacob Lorang, 
H. H. Clark. 
J. M. Grafton, 

C. F. Boarts, 
O. L. James, 

D. F. Harbison, 
Frank Vander Poel 

B. D. Irvine, 
Wm. M. Abrams, 
W. R. Lienau, 
Grover Lofftus, 
H. F. Barton, 

Farm Adviser, C. E. Sullivan 
Asst. Farm Adviser, J. E. Hertel 
Home Demonstration Agent, Mrs. Delia 
J. Morris 

Farm Home Dept. Chairmen 
Mrs. A. H. Smithson 
Mrs. W. H. Kirby 
Miss May Beattie 
Mrs. Frank M. Ballou 
Mrs. L. O. Bannister 
Mrs. Walter Wilkinson 
Mrs. Wm. M. Moores 
Mrs. Frank M. Moore 
Mrs. B. D. Irvine 
Mrs. F. M. Wright 
Miss Mildred Boyd 
Mrs. Stuart Swink 
Miss Elsie Angel 

"When tillage begins other arts follow ; the farmers, therefore, are the 
founders of human civilization," the truth of which is exemplified in no 
greater degree than in the Imperial Valley — that desert empire which 
by peaceful though ruthless conquest was wrested by the Colorado 
River from the mountain and valley soils of neighboring States now 
known as Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Wyo- 
ming. For unknown periods of time that river has been busy in the pro- 
cess of erosion of rich earths, their transportation as silt, and finally 



depositing them on the bed of an inland sea, probably at one time a part 
of the Gulf of California. After carefully spreading this vast tableland 
over an area of approximately a million acres from coast mountains to 
Yuma sand hills and from Mexico northward half a hundred miles, the 
Colorado wandered away to other fields, leaving a parched, unfruitful 

And then came the engineer and promoter and led back this life- 
giving stream, through canals and ditches, to convert this desert terrain 
into fertile fields, where "earth is here so kind that just tickle her with 
a hoe and she laughs with a harvest." 

Then came the pioneer farmers, tradesmen, laborers, merchants, pro- 
fessional and scientific men ; railroads were built, villages gj ew to 
towns and cities ; production of crops increased until at the end of the 
first decade of the organization of the county, over $40,000,000 had 
been produced, and the population had grown to over 40,000. 

The cities organized commercial clubs and chambers of commerce to 
promote the civic, industrial and social welfare of the urban popula- 
tion and, later, in response to a general demand for an organization rep- 
resenting and furthering the interests of the rural and agricultural citi- 
zens of Imperial Valley, a mass meeting was called to take place at 
Brawley, on December 18, 1915, whither over a thousand people jour- 
neyed from all parts of the county to take part in the formation of the 
Imperial County Farm Bureau. 


The Farm Bureau has a unique place in the life especially of an agri- 
cultural community, possessing the characteristics of a rural chamber 
of commerce, a society for educational and social purposes, and a clear- 
ing house for the invaluable agricultural experiments carried on by the 
U. S. Department of Agriculture throughout the nation ; by the colleges 
of agriculture and experiment stations, not only in California, but in all 
the other States of the Union, the results of which are available in bul- 
letin form. (Hundreds of these bulletins are on file for free distribution 
at Farm Bureau Office, El Centro). 


The Farm Bureau is county wide in its scope, embracing within one 
central organization fourteen local associations called "farm centers." 

Farm Centers. Each farm center is a distinct and independent unit, 
with a president, vice-president and secretary, and with headquarters 
usually at the district schoolhouse, where one regular monthly meeting 
is held each month, with a program consisting of talks by the farm ad- 
viser or his assistant, the home demonstration agent, by experts and 
specialists from the University of California, the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, experiment stations, and by educational and other public 
officials. To further enliven the meeting, music, motion pictures or 
other entertainment features are given, often followed by a social time 
and refreshments. In fact the farm center contributes to the welfare of 
the rural community as no other single agency has been able to do. Be- 
sides the regular monthly meetings, special meetings are called for spe- 
cial purposes, notably Red Cross work, demonstrations in food con- 
servation, good roads, and other matters of local interest. 

Organization. The presidents of these fourteen farm centers also act 
in the capacity of director of the central organization, the County Farm 
Bureau. President, vice-president, secretary and treasurer are elected 
at the annual meeting and serve one year. Meetings are held once each 
month, or oftener on call of the president. Besides these officers, there 
is a staff of farm adviser, assistant farm adviser and home demonstra- 
tion agent. 

Farm Adviser. The farm adviser is usually a graduate of an agricul- 
tural college with a practical experience in farming, and it is no exag- 
geration to say that he is one of the busiest men in the county, inasmuch 
as his hours run from early morning until past midnight fourteen days 
of each month. Night meetings are held in fourteen different centers, 
and to these the farm adviser travels to give talks on various subjects, 
ranging from disease control of dairy cattle, such as hog cholera, black- 
leg and tuberculosis, roup in poultry, etc., through subjects such as si- 
lage crops, silos, pig club work, home gardens, cotton culture and vari- 
eties, soils, drainage, grasshopper control, contagious abortion in cattle, 
lungworms, etc. Various specialists from the university accompany him 
on these trips and give lectures on many of the above-named subjects. 
During the day the farm adviser is busy with calls from all parts of the 
Valley for soil examinations, help in treating sick hogs, cattle, chickens, 


advice in planting various crops, in drainage, in construction of silos, 
etc. His Ford is seen shooting here and there like a comet with a long 
tail of dust to various parts of the Valley. 

State Leader of Farm Advisers. The farm adviser movement is car- 
ried on under the leadership of State Leader of Farm Advisers B. H. 
Crocheron, and Assistant State Leader Professor W. E. Packard. An- 
nually and sometimes oftener conferences are called of all the advisers 
in the State, together with delegates from each of the farm bureaus in 
the State for a conference, which results in unifying the movement. 

Cow-Testing Department. A cow-testing association, the largest in 
the world, was organized, with over 4000 cows, with four testers at 
work, to aid by scientific means the dairyman in ridding his herd of un- 
profitable cows. Testing is for butterfat and milk production, and the 
following will show the results aimed at : Cow No. 1 produced in one 
year 560.4 pounds of butterfat, with an income from the butterfat, the 
skim milk and calf, of $227.25, less a labor and feed cost of $63.60, 
showing a profit of $163.25 ; Cow No. 2, the poorest, produced in one 
year 70 pounds of butterfat, with an income from butterfat, skim milk 
and calf, of only $31.63, less a labor and feed cost of $54.50, showing 
a net loss of $22.87. Both were good looking cows, but adding the profit 
of Cow No. 1, and the loss of Cow No. 2, showed a difference of $186- 
.52. The value of testing is readily apparent. In order to arouse interest 
in testing, cows producing over 45 pounds butterfat per month are listed 
in the Farm Bureau Monthly each month, with name of owner. 

Farm Home Department and Home Demonstrator. This department 
was organized for the purpose of offering to farm women opportunities 
for successfully meeting war emergencies, and also to improve farm 
home conditions in the coming years by means of trained home demon- 
stration agents. In each of the fourteen farm centers a farm home com- 
mittee was organized among the women members, and a chairman 
elected. These fourteen chairmen also serve in the capacity of directors 
on the county-wide organization of the farm home department. While 
it is a department of the farm bureau, this organization of women is 
practically independent of the main organization, taking on the charac- 
ter of a rural women's club. Under the leadership of the home demon- 
strator the principal work is food conservation, demonstrations in can- 
ning, planning home gardens, kitchen efficiency, sanitation and kindred 


subjects. The home demonstrator also attends the night meetings at the 
fourteen different centers and gives lectures on the subjects above men- 
tioned. The work promises to be one of the most important undertaken. 


The accomplishment of the farm bureau during its short life of less 
than two years cover a wide field, as follows : 

1. Grasshopper Campaign. One of the first works undertaken was 
the grasshopper campaign, with the result that over 16,000 acres were 
successfully "treated" with poison and ridden of these destructive pests. 
The financial saving ran into thousands of dollars. 

2. Agricultural Clubs for boys and girls have been organized in the 
Valley with excellent results. Besides agricultural contests, raising corn, 
etc., pig clubs for both boys and girls have been organized, there being 
five such organizations now in the Valley. These pig Clubs are a contest 
in producing the greatest increase in weight at the least cost of labor 
and feed. The contestants are largely guided by scientific data on feed- 
ing as well as experience of hog growers. The data from the university 
on pig feeding cover experiments with feeding pigs on various rations 
to eight different lots of pigs, as follows: Barley; barley and alfalfa 
pasture ; barley and pasture with self feeder ; barley, tankage and pas- 
ture ; barley and cut alfalfa ; barley shorts and pasture ; barley, cocoanut 
meal and pasture ; milo, maize and tankage in self feeder and pasture. 
Results showed that greatest profits came from the lot fed on last- 
named rations, viz., milo, maize, tankage in self feeder and pasture, 
with a profit of $7.03, an average feed cost of 6 cents, with amount of 
4.1 pounds feed per each pound gain. The poorest profit came from lot 
fed on barley alone, with a profit of only $1.42, an average feed cost of 
8.1 cents, with amount of 6 pounds feed per each pound gain. At the 
end of the contest, which covers a period of 105 days, prizes are award- 
ed to the winners, consisting of : First, trip to Eastern cities on tour 
with winners of agricultural clubs ; second, trips to University Farm at 

3. Disease Control. In conjunction with the University of California 
and the Federal Government, hog cholera is being successfully combat- 
ed through vaccination with anti-hog-cholera serum and virus fur- 
nished by the university. The Federal Government also sends down 


here frequently an expert on cholera, who gives personal demonstra- 
tions in vaccination, and lectures on prevention by proper sanitary 
measures, etc., at farm center meetings. Bovine tuberculosis, contagious 
abortion in cattle, blackleg, are treated in the most approved manner. 

4. Landscape Gardening. In no place in the world is the need of beau- 
tification by tree and shrub planting greater than in the Imperial Valley. 
The University of California, through its extension work, has sent ex- 
perts to work with the farm bureau to work out plans of landscaping 
the school grounds, several of which are already under way. 

5. Cost Records. In co-operation with the University, also, farmers 
are being encouraged to keep records of costs and profits, in order to 
eliminate unprofitable farming. An expert bookkeeping specialist is to 
visit the Valley soon, starting each farmer who has applied for the 
course in bookkeeping, and at the end of the year will help him close the 
books and take off a balance sheet of profit and loss and point out the 
"leaks" if any. 

6. Publicity. A monthly publication, The Farm Bureau Monthly, is 
published each month and mailed to all farm bureau members. This con- 
tains many articles concerning the fundamental problems of the farm- 
ers in the Valley, notices of meetings, personal items, progress of con- 
tests in feeding pigs, progress of cow-testing, with butterfat scores of 
high cows, and special articles by experts on timely subjects. 

7. Livestock Fair. A successful county fair, under the able manage- 
ment of A. M. Nelson, former secretary, was put on with the co-oper- 
ation of the El Centro Chamber of Commerce. A fine showing of regis- 
tered hogs, cattle, horses, poultry and turkeys, was made and prizes 
awarded to winners. The fair was an unqualified success and bids fair 
to become a permanent institution with permanent fair grounds. 

8. Irrigation Problems. An uninterrupted supply of water for both 
irrigation and domestic use is absolutely necessary for the prosperity 
and even the life of the people of the Valley. The only source of supply 
is through diversion canals of over 80 miles in length from the Colorado 
River. For years the people of the Valley have unaided been attempting 
to solve the problem of an adequate water supply during low water peri- 
ods in summer. 

As early as October 2, 1916, the farm bureau passed a resolution to 
the effect that the magnitude of the irrigation works and flood protec- 


tion was such that it became imperative to enlist government assistance, 
and further that the Secretary of the Interior and the University of 
California be requested to make an immediate co-operative investiga- 
tion and an early report on the quickest and most effective means of se- 
curing these results of providing the Valley with an adequate and per- 
manent water supply. A committee, consisting of Walter E. Packard, 
Phil Brooks and A. M. Nelson, went to El Paso to meet members of 
the reclamation service, at their invitation, to confer on request for co- 
operative investigation of the irrigation situation. Director A. P. Davis, 
of the reclamation service, with other reclamation officials had visited 
the Valley on invitation, had made inspections, met with directors of 
the irrigation district, and that now the reclamation service was en- 
gaged in making preliminary investigations. 

In the latter part of March, 1917, a report was received from the 
board of engineers, consisting of Dr. Elwood Mead, D. C. Henry and 
Joseph Jacobs, outlining their findings, and asking for recommendations 
of the directors of the farm bureau. The recommendations made by the 
farm bureau were as follows : First, abandon Colorado River as naviga- 
ble stream ; second, to arrange treaty with Mexico so as to bring main 
canals and protective works wholly within United States ; third, nation- 
al control of works and provision for a fair division of cost of con- 
struction and maintenance of canals, protective works and storage 
dams between Mexican and Imperial lands, based on area served ; fifth, 
government control of flood protection, assuming cost of same on same 
basis as work included in rivers and harbors appropriations; sixth, 
construction by government of storage works on basis of repayment of 
cost by lands benefited ; seventh, construction of high-line canal to ir- 
rigate lands above present area on basis of repayment of costs by lands 
benefited; eighth, unified control of Colorado River and tributaries by 
commission composed of Federal and state government officials of 
States through which the Colorado and tributaries flow; ninth, the se- 
curing through government action of a water supply for the main canal 
from Laguna Dam ; tenth, the appropriation of $50,000 for preliminary 
surveys and study of plans above outlined. 

9. Farm Loan Associations. The farm bureau was active in bringing 
about the formation of five farm loan associations, with more than 100 
prospective borrowers. This means cheaper money for the farmer, 



probably five and a half per cent. Over half a million dollars has been 
applied for to be used in buying stock, making various improvements, 
purchase of land, as well as taking up old mortgages. 

10. Pima Cotton Seed. In co-operation with Long Staple Cotton Ex- 
change, over 150,000 pounds of government inspected pima cotton 
seed, a new variety of Egyptian — a long staple cotton of superior qual- 
ity — was distributed among the farmers of the Valley. Over 8000 acres 
will be planted. 

11. Better Silage Crops. Seeds of several new varieties of sorghums 
were brought in and distributed as demonstrations to the farmers, with 
the result that the amazing yield of over 46 tons to the acre was pro- 
duced in one instance. This was Honey Sorghum. Other plots yielded 
36.6 tons, 31 tons, 45 tons, 36.4 tons, with an average of 39 tons. This, 
compared with former yields, considered satisfactory, of from 9 to 15 
tons of milo, Indian corn, or feterita, is significant of a greatly in- 
creased feed yield, and will result in thousands of dollars gain in the 
dairy industry. 

12. Land Colonisation. The farm bureau by resolution endorsed 
plans of Dr. Elwood Mead having for their purpose the purchase of 
large tracts of lands in the State, these lands to be subdivided under 
State supervision and re-sold to settlers on long-time payments. 

13. Annual Assembly. Each year an annual agricultural convention 
is arranged by the farm bureau, to which are invited to speak on the 
program speakers from the University of California, experiment sta- 
tions, State and county officials, and specialists in various lines of agri- 
culture and commerce. Three such assemblies have been held during 
the past three years, at Brawley, at Imperial and at Holtville. The event 
is now looked upon as a regular county institution. 

14. Milo Selection. A campaign for saving selected milo seed was 
started, with the result that many tons of superior seed are available for 
this year's planting. 

15. Associations. As a result of activities of the farm bureau, through 
publicity, assemblies and other meetings, several associations have re- 
sulted, notably The Milk Producers' Association, Cotton Men's Asso- 
ciation, Hog Growers' Association, Bee Men's Association, marketing 
associations, cow-testing associations, and others still in process of 


16. Labor Bureau. As a result of a canvass put through by the farm 
bureau in co-operation with the State and county councils of defense, 
the acute labor shortage was attempted to be relieved by the creation 
by the county board of supervisors of a county labor bureau. 

17. Gopher Control. With the co-operation of the University of Cali- 
fornia, a campaign to exterminate the destructive gophers from the 
Valley started. An expert was sent here, who made a two-weeks' tour of 
the Valley, giving lectures to center meetings and demonstrations to 
farmers, and especially to the officials of the irrigation companies. The 
gophers caused thousands of dollars worth of damage each year, not 
only to crops, but in the way of starting road-flooding from irrigation 

18. Miscellaneous. Many minor activities, such as the distribution of 
thousands of State, Federal and experiment station bulletins on every 
branch of agriculture, home economics, horticulture, live-stock indus- 
tries, etc. Other work is undertaken, such as the aiding of the Red 
Cross, Liberty loans, etc., through the centers. 


The Imperial County Farm Bureau had its inception at the first annual 
agricultural assembly at Brawley, on December 18, 1915, which was 
called together by W. E. Wills, of Brawley ; Walter E. Packard, of the 
Meloland experiment station; and A. M. Nelson, of El Centro, all of 
whom were instrumental in making the first agricultural assembly the 
great success it achieved. Preliminary plans were laid at that time, the 
completion of which was accomplished at a later meeting at the Bar- 
bara Worth, El Centro, on March 4, 1916, where the duly elected presi- 
dents of ten different farm centers met with Mr. Wills, Mr. Packard 
and Mr. Nelson. The centers and their representatives were as follows : 
Verde, James N. Cook; Mt. Signal, Grover Lofftus ; Eastside, S. E. 
Robinson ; Meloland, Phil Brooks ; Eucalyptus, J. T. Pitts ; Seeley, 
Wm. Moores; Magnolia, C. E. Phegley; Westmoreland, C. F. Boarts; 
Mesquite Lake, Jake Lorang ; South Fern, W. R. Lienau ; Heber, Geo. 
Meyers. After plans were outlined by B. H. Crocheron of the Univer- 
sity of California, State leader of farm advisers, a temporary organi- 
zation was effected, and on March 11, 1916, the following officers were 
elected : 


Officers: R. E. Wills, president; S. E. Robinson, vice-president; A. 
M. Nelson, secretary; C. F. Boarts, treasurer, and later, R. E. Wills 
and Walter E. Packard were elected directors-at-large. 

President. The office of president was held by R. E. Wills for one 
year, when, at the annual elections, Walter E. Packard was elected, 
holding office until June 25, when he resigned to accept the position as 
assistant State leader of farm advisers at the University of California. 
Mr. Grover Lofftus was then elected president, and served until he re- 
signed to take up his residence in Los Angeles. At the annual election in 
February, Mike Liebert, director-at-large, was elected president. 

Vice-president. This office was held first by S. E. Robinson and con- 
tinued in office for two years, and was followed by W. R. Lienau, who 
was elected at the annual election in February, 1918. 

Secretary. A. M. Nelson was elected secretary and held the office 
until he resigned in September, 191 7, to join the Liberty boys at Camp 
Lewis, and on that date A. E. Madison was made secretary. 

Treasurer. C. F. Boarts was elected treasurer and held office for over 
two years, and then, at the annual meeting in February, 1918, asked 
that another treasurer be elected, with the result that Frank Vander 
Poel was chosen. 

Farm Adviser. Paul I. Dougherty, of the University of California 
and University Agricultural College at Berkeley and Davis, was called 
in July, 191 5, and served in that capacity with earnestness, zeal and ef- 
fectiveness until October, 191 7, when he joined the Liberty boys at 
Camp Lewis. C. E. Sullivan, also of the University of California, was 
appointed, and later J. P. Hertel, of the University of Wisconsin, was 
appointed an assistant farm adviser. 

Home Demonstration Agent. Upon the completion of the organiza- 
tion of the farm home department in March, 1918, a home demonstra- 
tor was sent down by the University of California — Mrs. Delia J. Mor- 
ris, formerly domestic science teacher in El Centro and graduate of 
Ames College, Iowa. 

Farm Home Department. Directors of the farm home department 
are as follows: Mrs. Frank M. Ballou, Acacia center; Mrs. A. H. 
Smithson, Verde; Mrs. W. H. Kirby, Mesquite Lake; Mrs. Walter 
Wilkinson, Meloland; Miss May Beattie, Calipatria; Mrs. L. O. Ban- 
nister, Westmoreland ; Mrs. B. D. Irvine, Magnolia ; Mrs. Wm. M. 


Moores, Seeley ; Mrs. Frank M. Moore, McCabe; Mrs. Stuart Swink, 
Mt. Signal ; Mrs. F. M. Wright, Eastside ; Miss Mildred Boyd, South 
Fern ; Miss Elsie Angel, La Verne. 

Additional centers were added from time to time, including Calipat- 
ria, with H. H. Clark as director; La Verne, H. F. Barton, director; 
Acacia, J. M. Grafton, director. 

drU^f^u^J AM^.&r 



The first doctors coming to the Valley had no easy time of it in the 
pursuit of their profession. There were often long journeys to take out 
over the trackless desert, and it was necessary to make these on horse- 
back, for few roads were such that one could pass over them with a 
buggy. As the ditches or canals were cut through there were seldom 
any bridges put across and the traveler was compelled to ford the 
streams. There were no hospitals or any buildings that in any way 
would answer the purpose of these. There were very few houses in the 
towns and none in the country. What surgical work had to be done was 
quite often done out in the open. 

A number of amputations were performed with nothing but a mes- 
quite tree to keep off the sun's rays. The few settlers that were here 
were usually pretty well scattered, necessitating long journeys for the 

The summer heat, in those earlier years, was intense. There was lit- 
tle or no verdure to break the blinding glare of the sun, and it was not 
unusual for the thermometer to rise to 128 or 130 degrees Fahrenheit 
during the middle of the day. But owing to the dryness of the at- 
mosphere there were few or no prostrations. There was comparatively 
little sickness in those days. The most of the men who came into the 
Valley were young and able-bodied and a large percentage of them had 
no families, or if they had, had left them behind, back in civilization, 
so that the proportion of women and children in the Valley was small. 
Brave souls there were though who refused to be left behind, who 
wanted to have a part in the developing of the country and refused to 
be daunted by the hardships of the desert life, and others soon fol- 
lowed, inspired by their example. Thus the Valley homes were estab- 
lished and the doctor became a necessity. 

This, perhaps, explains the fact that the first doctors, or most of 


them, did not come with any definite idea of establishing themselves in 
the practice of medicine. Dr. W. S. Heffernan, who was probably the 
first doctor to enter the Valley, came in 1900, not to practice medicine, 
but as secretary of the then newly organized California Development 
Company. Incidentally, he looked after considerable work profession- 
ally and along this line he covered the greater part of the Valley and 
often made trips far into Mexico. At one time he left Calexico at mid- 
night on horseback and rode all night and the greater part of the morn- 
ing, arriving at his destination near Black Butte mountains, at ten 
o'clock. He holds the distinction of having officiated at the birth of the 
first white child in the Valley in October, 1900. Dr. Heffernan first took 
up his stay in Imperial, which consisted of a few tent houses and a 
number of tents. Later he removed to Calexico, where he spent a num- 
ber of years, in fact until the dissolution of the development company. 
So much of his time, however, was spent in Los Angeles and elsewhere 
in the interest of the company that he could hardly be said to have had 
a permanent residence at Calexico at any time. 

In 1901, Dr. F. P. Blake came to Imperial. It is said that his first of- 
fice was in a tent, under a mesquite tree. Later he put up a small wooden 
building, two doors north of the Imperial Hotel. This consisted of but 
two tiny rooms, but they were ample for his bachelor needs. His equip- 
ment was exceedingly unpretentious, but it was considered ample in 
those days. His practice covered the greater part of the Valley. He was 
for years the only doctor there. He had no horse or buggy and went 
out in the country only as the parties came in with their own convey- 
ances and brought him out. He was for three years the only doctor in 
the Valley who devoted his whole time to his practice. He left the Val- 
ley about 1907, and for a number of years was absent from his usual 
haunts, but has now for several years been located in Calipatria. 

Dr. Blake had been in Imperial a year when Dr. T. R. Griffith, com- 
ing from Boston, drifted into the town. He had come in quest of health 
and he pitched his tent under another mesquite tree, not far distant 
from the one under which Dr. Blake was domiciled. This for a while 
was practically the entire medical fraternity of the Valley, all lodged 
under two Imperial mesquites. Dr. Griffith stayed in Imperial a year 
and then moved down near what is now known as Heber, on a ranch. 
He took no active part in the management of the ranch and did very 


little in the way of practicing medicine. After a year's stay here he felt 
sufficiently recuperated to take up the practice of his profession and, 
moving to Celexico, which had begun to develop into a small town, he 
opened up an office in a small tent house on Imperial Avenue. The house 
is still in existence, though later moved over onto First Street. Pos- 
sessing a gifted mind, Dr. Griffith, nevertheless, had little or no inclina- 
tion toward practicing medicine. The varied assortment of anomalous 
characters, both Mexican and white, possessed a peculiar fascination 
for him. He was seldom at his office, which bore all the marks of neg- 
lect, but could be found out mingling with people of the place. Natural- 
ly a linguist, he readily acquired a fair knowledge of the Spanish, and 
within a year was speaking this language fluently, with a studied Cas- 
tilian accent. 

Knowing the place as we do, knowing the man, we cannot wonder 
at his attachment to it. The first doctor of the town with a love for pio- 
neering, though not with an adaptability for it, he found here the breath 
of pioneering on everything and everybody. There was the spirit to do 
and to dare ; to undertake without hesitation the apparently impossible. 
There were also the unsuccessful ones, the derelicts in life, the down- 
and-outer, a motley assortment of humanity which had come from all 
parts of the country to this new land of promise with the last lingering 
hope that here they might redeem themselves. Some made good and 
others again sank to still lower depths of degradation, poverty and 

But to the doctor student of humanity, to the lover of the strange 
and anomalous in character and in life, they formed a most interesting 
group. There, too, were the officials of the California Development 
Company, their clerks and attendants, comfortably housed in several 
large adobe buildings, which lent to the community a touch of gentility 
that would otherwise be lacking and helped to intensify the contrasts. 
There, too, was the life across the line, a town composed almost entirely 
of adobe buildings and practically wholly Mexican. Here were stores 
and drinking booths. Here was the gay, careless life of the land of 
mafiana. Here of an evening could be heard the Spanish guitar, often 
accompanied by a more or less strident voice, sometimes distinctively 
plaintive, sounding clear and distinct through the still night air. A town 
it was, more distinctively Mexican than it has ever been since. The 


Colorado washed it away, with only a touch of the corruption which 
later has become the whole life of the community. 

Such was the life of the border when Dr. Griffith came to Calexico 
in 1904, and such it was when in the fall of 1905 he sold his few office 
belongings to the writer and left for Riverside, where he has been in 
active practice ever since. 

There had been some high water in the New River during the sum- 
mer of 1905, which had washed away the approaches to the bridge, 
thus interrupting traffic to the country lying west of town. A foot 
bridge was constructed across the river, but this was washed away 
during one of the winter floods, and thereafter all communication with 
the country west of the town was by boats. Some enterprising white 
fellow would build a boat and charge a person from fifty cents to a 
dollar to ferry him across. Hardly would he have earned enough money 
to cover the cost of the boat before some sudden rise in the river dur- 
ing the night would carry the boat down stream, and it invariably fell 
into the hands of some Cocopah Indian, who dwelt down stream and 
on the farther side. Thus the Indians soon came to have a monopoly in 
the ferry business. There were then a rather large number of them 
who lived west of the river. There are still a few living there, but most 
of them have succumbed to the ravages of tuberculosis and venereal 
diseases. The Indians used these boats to good advantage. If the ferry 
business was a little dull and they were a little short of funds in their 
community settlement, one of their number would suddenly get sick 
and another one would come across for the doctor. The trip across the 
river was always free to the doctor, but the patient, of course, had no 
money to pay him, and he was therefore under the necessity of having 
to pay for his ride back to town. This method of money making had, 
of course, its limitations. 

It was the writer's good fortune to spend that memorable year of 
floods in the Valley's border town. The place then suffered most from 
the break. Many and varied, indeed, were the experiences. It was a time 
that tried men. Many a brave soul did he see finally give up in despair 
and leave the Valley, never to return. Many had put their all in here 
and went out penniless. Practicing medicine during those times had its 
trying experiences. It was difficult and at times almost impossible to get 
around over the country. A saddle horse could cover all the dry land, 



however rough, but he could not cross the river. It was necessary there 
to resort to boats, and then the difficulty of finding any conveyance on 
the other side was nearly always present. It was at times necessary to 
walk a number of miles. The river was not always safe to cross. There 
were times when the ferryman absolutely refused to go out into the 
swift and swirling stream, and the writer was compelled to take the 
boat alone and trust to his college practice with the oars to bring him 
safely across. 

This was a year of confusion and of changes. People were compelled 
to change their plans to co-ordinate with the whims of the New River. 
Part of Calexico was washed away and practically all of Mexicali went 
down the stream. It was a period of transition, too, though we knew it 
not at the time, for the new towns that sprang up on both sides of the 
line were different. The old towns as well as the old life were things of 
the past. 

In Brawley, for years after the establishment of the town, the only 
doctor was Dr. J. A. Miller. He was, perhaps, more of a preacher than 
a doctor, and thus ministered both to the religious and medical wants 
of the new-born community. He claimed to hold a medical diploma 
from a Canadian school, though he never secured a California license. 
He was in many ways a rather whimsical fellow. On one occasion he 
appeared at Imperial to attend some Methodist conference, his tall, 
lank figure crowned with a high silk hat — the only silk hat, as far as 
known, that has ever had the hardihood to venture into Imperial 

On another occasion during the flood, when a cable had been ex- 
tended across the river and a carriage run back and forth on this some 
thirty feet above the water, he was asked to cross in it to see some sick 
person on the other side. He entered the carriage with some hesitation 
and remarked that he doubted whether it would hold him. He was as- 
sured that it had carried a horse across. "That is no guarantee that it 
will hold me," he replied, and intimated that his fee ought to be one 
commensurate with the apprehension he experienced in riding in the 

As Brawley grew in size and as the area of settlements increased 
about it, the Imperial doctors were called in more and more to look 
after the sick of that section, for it was not until 1907 that a regularity 


licensed physician came to Brawley. Dr. A. P. Cook was the first doctor 
to locate in Brawley. He remained there for three years until his death 
in 1910. 

Dr. F. J. Bold had come to Imperial in the summer of 1904, and had 
put up what for that time was considered a rather pretentious resi- 
dence and office on Imperial Avenue, adjoining Dr. Blake's. Unlike the 
other doctors then in the Valley, he was young and healthy and carried 
with him an abundance of enthusiasm. It was not long before his prac- 
tice extended to every part of the Valley. He had two or three saddle 
horses and changed mounts whenever the one he had been riding was 
tired. He could pick his way through the desert at all hours of the 
night, and there were in those days long stretches of desert between the 
various settlers. He had the happy faculty when through with a case 
and started on his way home to doze off in the saddle and leave it to the 
horse to get him home. On one occasion he went to sleep on his way 
out and awoke at 4 o'clock in the morning in some rancher's back yard, 
and for the life of him could not tell where he was. He was compelled 
to wake up the people to inquire his way. Like Dr. Griffith, he enjoyed 
pioneering, but unlike him he enjoyed it because of the unique experi- 
ences it gave him and not because of the strange characters it brought 
him in contact with. He enjoyed a varied and extensive practice and 
did considerable surgery too. Indeed it is surprising how much he ac- 
complished along surgical lines considering his limited facilities and 
the complete absence of hospitals or anything that at all approached 
them in accommodations, and all with uniform success. He considered 
the Valley the garden spot of the earth and declared it his intention to 
make this his permanent home. The tragic death of his sister, who had 
been his constant companion and invaluable assistant, together with 
other troubles, dampened his ardor, and he sold his home and practice; 
to Dr. G. M. Bumgarner in the summer of 1906 and went to Whittier 
where he has been located ever since. 

During his two years stay in the Valley he was constantly striving to 
give to the practice of medicine that dignity and importance to which 
it was justly entitled, and which it could hardly be said to have pos- 
sessed hitherto. His efforts were tireless to eliminate the quack and the 
charlatan and the unlicensed practitioner, of whom a number were 
finding their way into the Valley at that time. 



Holtville was established in 1903, and at its very beginning Dr. Green- 
leaf located there. He had enjoyed a lucrative practice in Chicago and 
later at Redlands, but his health had failed him at both places, and he 
came to Holtville hoping the desert air would give him renewed 
strength. He was the only doctor east of the Alamo for a number of 
years. He was never able, however, to give proper attention to his prac- 
tice on account of his health, and in 1908 Dr. Brooks took up the prac- 
tice of medicine there, having his office in the Alamo Hotel. It was not 
long after this that Dr. Greenleaf died. By his death the Valley lost 
the last of its pioneer doctors — for pioneering, at least as far as the 
practice of medicine was concerned, could hardly be said to extend be- 
yond the closing of the Colorado River break, in the summer of 1906. 
After this a new era of prosperity opened for the Valley. A rapid in- 
flux of settlers to the Valley, the organization of the county, the estab- 
lishment of roads and bridges were rapid steps in the phenomenal de- 
velopment of the country. With the growth in the number of settlers 
there was a corresponding increase in the number of doctors. In 1906 
there were only four doctors in the Valley, only two of whom were 
really in active practice. Two years later there were eleven. Four years 
later that number was doubled. At the present time there are in the 
neighborhood of forty, with at least thirty-three in active practice. 

The first hospital in the Valley was a small one in Imperial, estab- 
lished by Dr. E. E. Patten in 1907, soon after he came to the Valley. 
It was simply a small rooming house converted into a hospital. Dr. Pat- 
ten was at that time county health officer and he found it necessary to 
have some establishment in which to house his county patients, as well 
as the more serious of his private ones. The place was well filled most 
of the time and remarkably well managed considering the limited facili- 
ties. A poorly managed gasoline stove, however, made a rapid end of 
the doctor's hospital. Brief though its existence had been it served to 
show the imperative need for the Valley of something along that line, 
and in the spring of 1908, Dr. Virgil McCombs began the construction 
of a hospital in El Centro. A one-story structure was completed that 
spring. By the following spring, however, it had proved its entire in- 
adequacy to meet the growing demands, and the doctor began the erec- 
tion of an additional story, which was completed by the fall of that 
year. Soon after the destruction of the Imperial hospital, Dr. Patten 


established another hospital in the southern part of the town and put 
it under the management of Miss Haymer. This hospital flourished for 
several years, but proved in the end an unprofitable venture. It was 
therefore closed and the equipment sold to the El Centro hospital. 

In March, 191 1, Dr. McCombs sold his hospital in El Centro to the 
Sisters of Mercy of San Diego. They continued the management of it 
under the name of St. Thomas Hotel until March, 1918, when they 
transferred it to Mr. H. G. Thomas. It has, on account of its central 
location and larger size, remained during its entire existence the lead- 
ing hospital of the Valley. At Calexico the Jordan Hospital was estab- 
lished in 1912. It has remained constantly under the management of 
Mrs. Jordan. While not a large building, it is pleasantly situated and 
fairly commodious. 

At Brawley the Sisters of Mercy established a small hospital in 
1910, but soon after they took over the management of the El Centro 
Hospital they discontinued it, finding it impossible to keep up both. 
There is, however, and has been for some years, a small and well- 
managed hospital at this place, as also at Imperial. At Holtville, Dr. 
D. A. Stevens has been maintaining a small hospital for several years. 

There was no attempt made in the first years of the Valley's history 
on the part of the doctors to get together. There were not enough doc- 
tors to form any organization, but in the latter part of 1908 a county 
society was formed, comprising the following doctors : Dr. A. P. Cook 
of Brawley, Dr. E. E. Patten and Dr. Geo. Bumgarner of Imperial, 
Dr. Brooks of Holtville, Dr. Henry Richter of Calexico, and Drs. Vir- 
gil McCombs and F. W. Peterson of El Centro. Dr. Patten was chosen 
president and Dr. Peterson secretary of the newly formed society. A 
number of pleasant and profitable meetings were held at the hospital at 
El Centro during the year. The following year the organization still 
seemed to have sufficient life to justify an election of new officers, and 
Dr. McCombs was chosen president and Dr. Richter secretary. The 
society, however, was more nearly moribund at the time than was sup- 
posed. It never rallied sufficiently for another meeting. 

For the next six or seven years no effort was made to reorganize the 
county society. But an attempt was made by Dr. J. C. King of Banning, 
in 1914, to incorporate the Imperial county doctors in the Riverside 
County Medical Society. The plan was partly successful. A number of 



the Valley doctors joined. By 1916 this number had been reduced to 
three, and Dr. King then conceived the plan of organizing an Imperial 
County medical society. It was largely through Dr. King's untiring ef- 
forts that the organization became a reality and the society emerged 
full fledged and with unbounded enthusiasm in April, 1916. Dr. L. R. 
Moore of Imperial was chosen president and Dr. L. C. House of El 
Centro secretary. It had at the time of its organization a membership 
of fifteen, comprising doctors from every town in the Valley. During 
its first year a number of lively and profitable meetings were held. 

In April, 1917, election of officers was again in order, and Dr. Eugene 
Le Baron of Brawley was chosen president, with Dr. F. A. Burger of 
El Centro as vice-president. Dr. L. C. House was re-elected secretary. 
It is said that the second year of an organization is always the most 
trying. If it weathers the storm during this period its chances for a 
long lease of life are good. The history of the second Imperial County 
medical society has proven no exception to this rule. With the opening 
of the second year the enthusiasm that had characterized it during the 
first year began to wane. Though the year is practically at a close there 
have been no meetings of the organization ; no getting together of the 
members which is so essential to mutual stimulation and inspiration. 
There is evident need at present of some regenerating influence, some 
invigorating leaven thrown into it to vitalize it for its third year's ac- 

The climate of the Valley has, in general, been decidedly healthful. 
In the earlier days it was peculiarly so for tuberculosis patients. Many 
who came here with the disease in an advanced stage recovered com- 
pletely. Of late years the climate could hardly be said to be favorable 
for this class of patients. The increased humidity which is an inevitable 
result of the increased cultivation and irrigation renders the summer 
heat much more unbearable. This increased humidity also gives rise to 
a larger proportion of heat prostrations. There were few, if any, of 
these before 1905. Of other pulmonary diseases there were at first 
scarcely any, but these have all been steadily on the increase. Especial- 
ly is this true of pneumonia. From being almost unheard of in the 
pioneer days it has come to be quite prevalent during the winter and 
spring months, and carrying with a rather high mortality even for that 


Scarlet fever and measles were almost unknown before 1906. Since 
then there have been scattered cases of the former practically every 
year and a number of epidemics of the latter. There had been no cases 
of measles in the southern part of the Valley for three years or more 
when the constable at Calexico, in the latter part of 1906, in taking 
some prisoners out to San Diego, was exposed to the disease. He was 
not aware, however, that he had come in contact with it, so when a 
week or two later he became sick, with many of the symptoms of the 
grippe, he decided that he was in for a siege of influenza. His friends 
came to see him and sympathize with him in his distress. The sym- 
pathizing was continued into the next two or three months and several 
hundred took part. A fairly general immunity was thus established and 
no further epidemic occurred for the next two or three years. Much 
complaint was heard in earlier years about the low altitude and conse- 
quent heart trouble. Personally this is largely, if not entirely, imagina- 
tion on the part of the individual affected, for there have been a num- 
ber of cases of people who found it impossible to live at Calexico, 
which is about sea level, on account of the low altitude, who found, 
nevertheless, that their hearts worked in perfect shape at sea level on 
the coast. 

Typhoid fever has been in evidence in the Valley since the first set- 
tlers arrived. This is, undoubtedly, due almost wholly to the unsanitary 
condition that prevails almost constantly along the ditches across the 
line. The water is in most cases already polluted before it crosses the 
line into American territory. This, of course, is something over which 
the health authorities of the county have no control. They may guard 
ever so zealously the water supply within our own borders, but if in- 
discriminate pollution is permitted to go on unchecked south of the 
line, the danger will ever be with us. 

This should be one of the strongest reasons for eliminating at the 
earliest possible moment the necessity for securing our water supply 
from foreign soil, for the health of a community should be of para- 
mount solicitude. Happily this defect in our water supply now bids fair 
to be remedied at a no distant date. 




Press, Standard and Zanjero. — The need for publicity was felt at 
the very beginning of the development of Imperial Valley. L. M. Holt, 
who in pioneer days, as publisher and editor of the Riverside Press, 
had forty years ago gained State-wide recognition as the chief news- 
paper authority on the irrigation and horticultural resources of South- 
ern California, was publicity agent for the Imperial Land Company and 
the California Development Company. It was he who had interested 
George Chaffey, the builder of the irrigation system, in the Valley, and 
Mr. Holt was also instrumental in interesting Edgar F. Howe, who had 
come to Southern California in 1884, and had witnessed from a news- 
paperman's viewpoint the development of practically all Southern Cali- 
fornia from semi-desert. 

As the years had piled up on Mr. Holt and he had become less active 
in newspaper work, the especial field he had held in the newspaper field 
had in large part passed to Mr. Howe. In 1890 he had founded the 
Redlands Facts, the first daily newspaper in that town, and thence he 
had gone to Los Angeles, where he had gained recognition as the prin- 
cipal writer on irrigation, horticulture and the oil industry. He was in 
1900 the industrial editor of the Los Angeles Herald when, in October, 
Mr. Holt induced him to inspect the first work on the great irrigation 
system, less than a half mile of canal then having been dug. 

From the site of the proposed heading on the Colorado River Mr. 
Howe came to the Valley, being driven by George McCauley, as about 
the first passenger of that pioneer stage driver, from the main line of 
the railroad to Blue Lake, near the projected town of Silsbee, and back. 
On that drive of ninety miles, which led over the town-sites of Braw- 
ley, Imperial and El Centro, only two persons were seen, Engineer D. 
L. Russell and an assistant, who were making the first survey. 

Because of his experience in watching the developments of other 
parts of Southern California, Mr. Howe believed he could see in this 


development work a movement of vast potential benefit to the country, 
and articles from his pen following the visit to the Valley were pub- 
lished with illustrations in the New York Tribune, New York Times, 
Scientific American, Philadelphia Press and other leading publications 
of the East, as well as in the Los Angeles Herald, undoubtedly giving to 
the Valley colonization its first great impetus. 

So beneficial had his work proven that the Imperial Land Company 
was anxious that he should become identified with the development 
work. The following May the Imperial Valley Press was founded at 
Imperial by the Imperial Land Company with H. C. Reed as editor, but 
in October, 1901, one year from his former trip, Mr. Howe assumed 
the editorship. 

Those pioneer newspaper days were trying ones because there was 
little to do and there were none of the conveniences of life. The stage 
came to town three times a week, and a census showed population of 
158 persons in what is now Imperial County in the spring of 1902. The 
following summer, without ice, electricity, fresh meat, vegetables, eggs, 
milk or butter, life was barely worth living, but it was under these con- 
ditions that the foundations were laid for the newspaper as well as all 
the other institutions of the Valley. 

After a year of this privation, Mr. Howe thought he had had enough 
of pioneer life, and he left the Valley, but by April of the next year — 
1903 — he was induced to return, this time as owner of the newspaper, 
which he purchased and published for a little more than a year, selling 
to Charles Gardner. 

The new town of El Centro had been founded in 1905, and early in 
that year Mr. Gardner sold the Press to W. F. Holt, who moved it to El 
Centro, where it passed successively under the editorial management of 
F. G. Havens and D. D. Pellett. 

Before leaving Imperial the Press had a competitor in the Imperial 
Standard, started by a stock company with H. C. Reed and later David 
De Witt Lawrence as editors. 

This publication was bought in June, 1905, by Mr. Howe, who came 
to the Valley for the third time, accompanied by his two sons, Armiger 
W. and Clinton F., who were associated with him during the second 
stage of pioneer newspaper work, that of publishing the first daily news- 
paper. This publication was started while the Colorado River was pour- 


ing its whole volume into Salton Sea, and Mr. Howe says that to this 
day he has never been able to decide whether the venture was a matter 
of inspiration or of imbecility. 

Then came the struggle over county division, Mr. Howe being the 
spokesman for Imperial. Mr. Holt sought a strong editorial force for 
the Imperial Valley Press as an offset to him, and interested Captain 
Allen Kelley, Louis Havermale and W. L. Hayden in that paper. Cap- 
tain Kelly had been city editor of the New York Evening Sun and of 
the Los Angeles Times, and editorial writer for the Philadelphia North 
American, Boston Globe and San Francisco Examiner. Mr. Havermale 
was one of the best detail reporters in Los Angeles and Mr. Hayden 
was a clever business manager. It was a strong aggregation, but it was 
an overload for the weekly to carry, and after the bitterness of the 
county seat election had passed, Messrs. Howe, in May, 191 1, bought the 
Press from W. F. Holt and consolidated with it the Imperial Daily 
Standard, continuing the paper as a daily under the name of the Im- 
perial Valley Press until September, 1916. 

Messrs. Howe had had the experience in Imperial of many pioneers 
in the newspaper business of a hard struggle with little recompense. 
When they purchased the Press they added considerably to their in- 
debtedness. Their business in El Centro grew with great rapidity, for- 
cing heavy purchases of equipment, with added obligations. The earth- 
quake of June, 191 5, wrecked their plant and brought about a loss of 
business which proved fatal to their enterprise, and they lost the news- 
paper in September, 1916. 

But 400 farmers in mass meeting called on Mr. Howe to re-enter the 
field, pledging their support, and many of them volunteered financial 
aid, with the result that within thirty days there was issued the first 
number of The Zanjero, a weekly paper, but with the intention, avowed 
from the first, of eventually issuing daily. 

The Calexico Chronicle was founded August 12, 1904. It's first home 
was in a tent house at a point near the Southern Pacific depot. The early 
days of the paper were the usual early days of a pioneer newspaper — 
much work and little remuneration for its owner. For several years it 
had a number of owners, and for a while essayed to be a daily paper, 
even when Calexico was only a town of something like 500 people. 

During those early days of daily newspapering it was the frequent 


boast of its publisher that it was the only daily newspaper in the world 
in a town with so few people in it, which was about all there was to 
boast about. 

In July, 1912, the Chronicle became the property of the present own- 
er, Bert Perrin, who, early the next year, took Ray E. Oliver as a part- 
ner, which partnership continued until November, 1917, when Bert 
Perrin again became the sole owner. 

Beginning in 1913 the great struggle of the Chronicle has been to keep 
pace with the rapid growth of the town. In 1914 the Chronicle once 
more began publication as a daily, with Associated Press news service. 

The El Centro Progress was established in its present location on 
Main Street, El Centro, February 3, 1912. First a weekly. In October of 
the same year it was changed to a morning daily, and as such made its 
way swiftly to the present place it occupies. Mr. and Mrs. Otis B. Tout 
were first engaged in publishing the Calexico Chronicle, Mr. Tout hav- 
ing taken charge of that newspaper in 1907. They sold the business in 
1912 to Bert Perrin and purchased the remains of the Daily Free Lance 
plant in EI Centro, on which the present business was founded. 

The Free Lance was established in 1908 by A. D. Medhurst. It ran a 
precarious existence for three years and was finally discontinued on 
account of financial difficulties. 

Mr. and Mrs. Tout, both practical printers, have had the assistance 
of Mrs. Tout's brothers, both in the mechanical department and the 
management. O. W. Berneker is advertising manager, W. A. Berneker 
is foreman of the composing room, E. A. Berneker is Intertype ma- 
chinist-operator, and A. E. Berneker is in the mailing and stereotyping 
department. This "family affair" has become quite successful as shown 
by the patronage accorded the Progress since its establishment. The 
records show a steady increase in every year's business, 1917 outdis- 
tancing all the others by a wide margin. The business is a co-partner- 
ship with Mr. and Mrs. Tout sole owners. 

The policy of the Progress has been independent, the editor believing 
that the selection of the best in all matters is better than blind partisan- 
ship in any. That this policy has been approved by a large constituency 
is attested by the fact that the Progress lays undisputed claim to the 
largest circulation of any newspaper in the county. The paper makes it 
a point to boost every worthy cause and to flay every unworthy propo- 



ganda that raises its head. Imperial Valley has had seven special, illus- 
trated editions during the twelve years' work of the publishers of the 
Progress, and much of the broadcast information that the world has 
regarding Imperial Valley can be credited to these efforts. 

The Progress is the only morning newspaper in the Valley, and is a 
member of the Associated Press. 



The main line of the Los Angeles division of the Southern Pacific 
from just north of Bertram to the Colorado River at Yuma, for a dis- 
tance of about ninety miles, was first operated in the spring of 1877. 

From the present station of Niland (originally known as Old Beach 
and then later called Imperial Junction), a branch line runs south to 
Calexico on the international boundary line for a distance of 41 miles, 
first operated to Imperial in the spring of 1903, and thence to Calexico 
in the summer of 1904. 

The above branch line thence continues easterly through the north- 
ern portion of Lower California and returns to Imperial County at 
Cantu, thence northerly for a distance of 2.6 miles to a connection with 
the first above-mentioned main line at Araz Junction. 

From El Centro a branch line runs west to New River at Seeley for 
a distance of 8.3 miles to a connection with the San Diego and Arizona 

From Calipatria a branch line runs west and thence south for a dis- 
tance of 12.6 miles to Westmorland, first operated June, 1917. 

From Colorado, a station on the main line, across the Colorado River 
from Yuma, a branch line runs northeasterly, generally following said 
river, for a distance of 12.2 miles to Potholes, at the site of the govern- 
ment's Laguna Dam, first operated April, 1908. 

From a connection with the Southern Pacific Company's branch line 
at Seeley the San Diego and Arizona Railway Company's main line ex- 
tends westerly for a distance of 27 miles to a point on Imperial County 
boundary line about a mile west of Silica. 

From a connection with the Southern Pacific Company's branch line 
at El Centro the Holton Interurban Railway Company's electric line 
extends easterly for a distance of about 11 miles to Holtville. 



The San Diego and Arizona Railway Company was incorporated De- 
cember 15, 1906, for the purpose of constructing a transcontinental 
railroad from San Diego, California, eastward through Imperial Valley, 
the intention being to connect with the Southern Pacific system at New 
River, a distance of about one hundred forty miles. 

On account of numerous difficulties encountered, which were unfore- 
seen and unavoidable, the construction work has been slow. However, 
the work is now progressing at a rate which indicates that within the 
near future Imperial Valley will be connected by a short-line haul with 
another deep-water port, and which will naturally open up additional 

In carrying out the purpose for which the company was incorpor- 
ated, the railroad was planned and is being constructed for transconti- 
nental business. The roadbed and structures are built for heavy traffic, 
and the curves and grades are the lightest possible through the moun- 
tainous country traversed, the summit (3650 feet elevation) being 
reached from San Diego with a maximum grade of 1.4 per cent. Termi- 
nal facilities have been provided on the same basis, the company own- 
ing over sixty acres in the San Diego shop site, 50 acres in freight yards 
and terminals, and have secured the right from State and city to sixty 
acres on the bay front for wharves; three hundred and twenty acres 
were secured for helper station, shops, etc., in Imperial Valley, near 
the "west side main canal." 

In addition to the advantages offered for transportation of freight 
the line will prove attractive to the tourist. The scenery over the moun- 
tains and through the Carriso Canon is varied and attractive. Entering 
Mexico through a tunnel just west of Campo, the line runs for forty- 
four miles through a foreign country ever interesting to the tourist, 
crossing into the United States again at Tijuana, which place is visited 
annually by thousands of tourists. The longest tunnel on the line — 2600 
feet — is encountered in the Carriso Canon. 

The company has recently purchased the San Diego and South East- 
ern Railroad, with some 85 miles of roadway, traversing the rich farm- 
ing valleys surrounding San Diego, which will be a feeder for the trans- 
continental line. 



The Holton Inter-Urban Railway Company was incorporated, along 
with the other utilities of the Valley, by W. F. Holt in December, 1903, 
with a capital stock of $200,000.00. The road connects El Centro with 
Holtville (a distance of about eleven miles) and is of standard gauge 
construction. The company carries both freight and passenger traffic 
and has recently put in service gas motor cars for carrying passengers, 
which have a special wheel attachment (the invention of W. F. Holt) 
permitting the cars to run either on the railroad track or on the public 
streets and highways. This innovation in railroad service is not only a 
novelty, but is a practical convenience to the public, which is showing 
its appreciation by very liberal patronage. The invention has created 
wide-spread interest throughout the country, and this method of trans- 
portation will no doubt be extended to the large railroad systems, par- 
ticularly in connection with inter-urban traffic. The general offices of 
the Holton Inter-Urban Railway Company are also located at River- 
side, under the same management as the other companies. 



First National Bank of Imperial was organized in 1901 with a cap- 
ital stock of $25,000 by LeRoy Holt, W. F. Holt, George Chaffey and 
A. H. Heber. The bank was then located where the Imperial Valley 
Hardware store is now located. Holt Brothers operated a store in the 
building at that time. The bank remained in that location for a period 
of two years and in 1903 moved into one of the first brick buildings in 
Imperial, one door south of its present location. In 1907 the capital 
stock was increased to $50,000 and in 1908 moved into its present loca- 
tion. The bank owns the building next door as well as its present quar- 
ters. The officers are : President, LeRoy Holt ; vice president, N. A. 
Mackey; cashier, O. K. Thomas; assistant cashiers, C. W. Hinderks 
and C. S. Hill. The total resources of the bank are $725,000 and total 
deposits are $550,000. All of the men identified with the bank are rec- 
ognized as far-sighted, keen and discriminating business men and the 
bank has enjoyed a steady and rapid growth. 

The Farmers and Merchants Bank of Imperial was formerly 
organized as the Imperial City Bank in 1907. The following persons 
were named as directors in the original articles of incorporation: Geo. 
A. Parkyns, J. R. Stevenson, R. H. Benton and W. D. Garey. Mr. 
Byron H. Cook was made secretary of the bank and became its first 
cashier. To these the following members were added as directors for 
the ensuing year: F. C. Paulin, A. J. Waters and Geo. J. Dennis, all of 
Los Angeles, California. The authorized capital of the bank was $50,- 
000, but it operated from the date of its incorporation until January I, 
1918, with a paid up capital of $25,000. In January, 1910, the control- 
ling interest of the bank was purchased by L. J. Thomas. Several of 
the former stockholders retiring, the stock was placed largely in the 
vicinity of Imperial. The name of the bank was changed to Farmers 
and Merchants Bank of Imperial, with commercial and savings depart- 


merits. At the time of the purchase of the institution the deposits were 
$32,000; loans and discounts $31,000. Under the new management the 
bank continued to grow until it became necessary to increase its cap- 
ital stock. On January 1, 1918, Frank Wilkin, formerly of Lenox, 
Iowa, subscribed the balance of the capital stock and succeeded to the 
presidency. The current statement of the bank shows deposits $315,500, 
loans and discounts $235,000, and the affairs of the institution are in 
splendid condition. It has always been the policy of the institution to 
recognize first the claims of local demands, and it has steadfastly re- 
fused to purchase bonds or outside securities, waiving this policy only 
in behalf of Liberty Bonds. 

Imperial Valley Bank of Brawley. — Since its organization in 
1903 this bank has had a steady growth. It transacts a general com- 
mercial and savings banking business, in accordance with the laws gov- 
erning banks in this state. The bank was originally started in an adobe 
building and was known as the First Bank of Brawley. F. S. Miller was 
president and Wm. T. Dam cashier. Mr. Miller served in this capacity 
for one year, when F. C. Paulin of Los Angeles was made president. 
The following year W. F. Holt secured controlling interest and was 
made president. The name of the bank was changed to Imperial County 
Bank and Mr. Holt served as president for three years. Disposing of 
his stock, W. T. Dunn was made president in 1905 and has served in 
that capacity since. The bank started with a capital stock of $25,000 
and in 1912 the capital stock was increased to $50,000, and in 1917 it 
was again increased to $100,000. The present officers of the Imperial 
Valley Bank are : President, Wm. T. Dunn ; vice president, W. H. Best ; 
cashier, M. G. Doud; assistant cashiers, Roy Stilgenbauer and H. J. 
Ingram. In 191 5 the bank was enlarged and remodeled at an expense 
of $20,000. The bank's business has been conducted in a creditable and 
up-to-date manner, all modern methods and appliances being used, and 
it has given patrons the service that is now looked for by the progres- 
sive business man. The interior of the bank is finished in rich Circassian 
walnut and the interior effect is seldom seen outside the larger cities. 

First National Bank of Brawley. — Among the solid, conserva- 
tive and reliable moneyed institutions of Imperial County is the First 



National Bank of Brawley. The bank was organized in 1907 with a 
capital stock of $25,000 and a surplus of $25,000. In 1915 the capital 
stock was increased to $50,000 and surplus $10,000. In 1917 the capital 
stock was again increased to $70,000 and surplus $30,000. The original 
officers of the bank were: President, W. T. Dunn; vice president, R. 
E. Wills; cashier, F. F. Parmerlee. The present officers of the bank 
are : President, W. T. Dunn ; vice president, R. E. Wills ; cashier, R. L. 
Angell; assistant cashiers, R. Clayton Lee, Frank Ford, and Edwin A. 
Wells. The bank started in the Oakley Block, a mercantile building, 
corner of Sixth and Main Streets, and in 1914 the bank purchased the 
entire building and takes in the three stores facing Main Street and 
erected an extension on Sixth Street which is occupied by four offices. 
The bank was remodeled in 1917 and modern and up-to-date fixtures 
and vault were installed, costing $20,000. The bank has been progres- 
sive from the start and keenly interested in the upbuilding of Brawley 
and community. 

American State Bank of Brawley was incorporated June 18, 
1914, with a capital stock of $50,000; surplus and profits, $7,500. The 
bank has enjoyed a steady growth. The original officers were: Presi- 
dent, F. S. Lack ; vice president, P. P. Hovley ; cashier, William Smith. 
The bank opened a branch bank at Calipatria on November 10, 1914, 
and has had a steady growth coincident with the growth and develop- 
ment of that town. The present officers of the bank are: President, 
P. P. Hovley ; vice president, F. S. Lack ; cashier, G. H. Williams ; the 
directors are J. S. Nickerson, George Nowlin, Dewey Carey, J. L. 
Taecker, Harry Withrow and Ray Griswold. Both banks transact com- 
mercial and savings business in all respects in accordance with the laws 
governing such banks. The interiors of both banks are roomy and well 

First National Bank of Holtville was organized in 1904 with a 
capital stock of $25,000 and was later increased to $50,000. The orig- 
inal officers were LeRoy Holt, president, and R. G. Webster, cashier. 
The present officers of the First National Bank of Holtville are: Le- 
Roy Holt, president; M. C. Blanchard, vice president, and E. L. Car- 
son, cashier. This bank is the oldest in Holtville and has enjoyed a 



steady growth, and is known as being among the leading financial insti- 
tutions of Imperial County, there being an efficient corps of assistants 
and a strong board of directors. 

The Holtville Bank was organized in December, 1910, with a 
capital stock of $25,000. The first officers of the bank were: President, 
M. L. Hazzard; vice president, Porter N. Ferguson; cashier, O. N. 
Shaw. The present officers of the bank are: President, O. N. Shaw; 
vice president, R. W. Hoover; cashier, S. E. Shaw. The bank started 
in its present location and moved to its own handsome structure in 
April, 1918, to the corner of Holt and Fifth Streets in the Alamo build- 
ing. The bank installed their present fixtures in the new location which 
are modern and up-to-date. The bank is one of the reliable and conser- 
vative banks of the county and has enjoyed a steady growth since it 
opened its doors. It has one of the newest and most modern vaults and 
safe deposit equipments in the Valley. The bank owns the entire build- 
ing, and at present sub-leases to the drug store, telephone exchange, 
hotel and dining room. 

The International Bank of Calexico was organized in October, 
1916, with a capital stock of $25,000. The original officers were Frank 
D. Hevener, president ; J. F. Steintorf , vice president ; Paul B. Stein- 
torf, cashier. The present officers are Frank D. Hevener, president ; D. 
R. Hevener, vice president, and Samuel E. Rottman, cashier. The as- 
sets of the bank as per last call of the State Banking Department were 
$271,000. Its remarkable growth in such a short period is another evi- 
dence of the rapid strides the City of Calexico is making. 

First National Bank of Calexico. — The forming of the First 
National Bank of Calexico was first conceived by John F. Giles and J. 
M. Edmunds, who applied for a charter in January, 1910. The organi- 
zation was perfected and charter granted for $25,000 capital stock and 
doors opened for business March 14, 1910, on the corner of Paulin and 
Second Streets with the following officers in charge : Sidney McHarg, 
president ; Edward Dool, vice president ; J. A. Morrison, cashier ; J. M. 
Edmunds, assistant cashier. The bank enjoyed prosperous business 
from the start. On the first of November, 1913, Mr. D. A. Leonard of 



the First National Bank of El Centro, associated himself with the in- 
stitution and in January, 1914, was elected cashier and J. M. Edmunds 
president. The following May the deposits had grown to over $250,000, 
and it was found advisable to increase the capital stock to $50,000. 
The bank continued to grow by leaps and bounds, and in January, 1916, 
the deposits had passed the half-million mark. It was then found nec- 
essary to again increase the capital stock to $100,000 to enable the bank 
to accommodate the volume of business and take care of its clients. It 
became evident that the bank was fast out-growing its present quarters 
and the management proceeded to negotiate for space in the Anderson 
block on the corner of Second and Rockwood, where it enjoys the dis- 
tinction of occupying the finest banking quarters of any town of the 
size of Calexico in Southern California. In January, 1918, the bank 
had total resources of a million and a half. 

El Centro National Bank was organized and opened for business 
March 9, 1909, with F. B. Fuller president, W. T. Bill vice-president, 
and F. W. Wilson cashier. The capital stock is $30,000. The present 
officers of the bank are: President, F. B. Fuller; vice-president, W. T. 
Bill ; cashier, T. L. Doherty. The building is 50 x 75 feet. The interior is 
arranged so as to secure the best working conditions, being roomy and 
well ventilated, and the vault is of the most modern type. The bank has 
been very progressive from the start and is numbered among the solid, 
conservative and most thoroughly reliable moneyed institutions of Im- 
perial County. The bank owns its own building and is unexcelled for its 
equipment and banking facilities. 

•First National Bank of El Centro was organized May 10, 1909, 
with a capital stock of $50,000. In 191 5 the capital stock was increased 
to $100,000. The original officers of the bank were : President, Le Roy 
Holt; vice-president, True Vencell; cashier, J. V. Wachtel, Jr. The 
present officers of the bank are : President, Le Roy Holt ; vice-presi- 
dent, Franklin J. Cole; cashier, A. H. Keller; assistant cashiers, F. J. 
Gianola, Ira L. Hobdy and R. L.Tilton. A consistent and steady growth 
has been maintained until, at the present time, it ranks among the fore- 
most of the financial institutions of the Valley. The interior of the bank 
is finished in mahogany, and every method and appliance is being used 



such as are seen in the larger cities. The fire-proof vault, which is of the 
most modern type, is equipped with a time lock. 

The Security Savings Bank of El Centro was organized June i, 
1912, with a capital stock of $25,000. Directors: LeRoy Holt, Geo. E. 
Kennedy, Phil. D. Swing, J. V. Wachtel, Jr., Virgil McCombs, W. H. 
Brooks, B. F. McDonald, E. J. M. Hale, W. T. Bill. November 4, 1916, 
the name was changed to Security Commercial & Savings Bank. J. K. 
Hermon, president; J. Stewart Ross, vice-president; O. G. Home, 
cashier. The three officers, O. Luckett and J. L. Travers, composed the 
board of directors. January 1, 191 8, the capital stock was increased to 
$50,000— $10,000 surplus earned, $2200 undivided profit. 

First National Bank of Calipatria. — The growth of this bank 
has been most remarkable. Under able management it was organized in 
1915 with a capital stock of $25,000; surplus, $25,000. The bank occu- 
pies a good location in the town of Calipatria, in a stately building, and 
owns its new home. Every appliance and convenience known to mod- 
ern banking for the purpose of safeguarding the funds and valuables of 
its patrons have been installed. The officers of the bank are : President, 
Wm. T. Dunn; vice-president, V. R. Sterling; cashier, M. Ferguson. 
The deposits of this institution have grown from $60,000 to $250,000 
from October, 1917, to March, 1918. The interior of the bank is finished 
in silver-finished oak, which gives a very pleasing effect. 

First National Bank of Heber was organized and started business 
on April 2, 1914. The officers of the bank were : Frank Beers, president ; 
George Varney, vice-president ; B. C. Beers, cashier. The capital stock 
is $25,000. The present officers are: President, A. W. Beed; vice-presi- 
dent, G. E. Brock; cashier, W. A. Harlan. Deposits, $140,000; undi- 
vided profits, $8000. 



In every community there are a certain number of enterprising, broad- 
gauged citizens who possess that fine inherent quality of constructive- 
ness which takes a delight in creating something good and worth while, 
and of such are successful chambers of commerce composed. 

Someone has said that "dreamers are the saviors of the world." 
The author mightly aptly have added "and the builders as well." For 
every progressive man is more or less of a dreamer. He has visions of 
greater and better things to come, and these "visions" are nothing more 
or less than constructive dreams. Frequently he is called impractical 
and no doubt rightly so at times, still many an impractical dream has 
turned out to be a wonderful reality. Particularly has this been true in 
this fertile Valley, where our bounteous crops and prosperous cities 
are ever-present monuments to the men who dared to dream of an 
agricultural empire rising from the forbidding sands of the desert. The 
story of the wonderful transformation which has taken place here in 
less than two decades has been fascinatingly described elsewhere in 
this volume, and the writer has no desire to attempt a reiteration, but 
so closely has the work of our chambers of commerce been identified 
with this transformation that a reference now and then may be pardon- 

To recite in detail the history of the various commercial bodies of the 
Valley would be to chronicle the history of the Valley itself. From the 
time the first cluster of tent houses on the site of the Valley's oldest city 
began to take on an appearance of village dignity up to the present day 
the development of this great delta region of the Colorado has been the 
thought uppermost in the minds of the men who have given so ex- 
travagantly of their time in carrying on the work of the chambers of 
commerce to the end that there might be created here, not only cities 



and thriving rural districts to be proud of today, but that there might 
be handed down to posterity an empire built on the endurable founda- 
tion of unblemished social worthiness. 

The career of a chamber of commerce in a small town is always one 
of extremes of fortune. Either the chamber is vigorous, with a balance 
in the bank, or it is in the dumps and exists in name only, depending on 
how recently the process of rejuvenation has been applied, but once letan 
organization be formed and it never entirely dies. True the signs of life 
may at times be difficult of detection, but let a matter come up which is 
vital to the interests of the community and the resurrection will be 
prompt and effective. The reason why a commercial organization never 
entirely dies is that it is the only instrumentality through which a com- 
munity can express its opinion without laying itself open to the criticism 
of favoring some special interest. And so it has been in Imperial Valley. 
Our organizations have prospered and become quiescent, functioned 
enthusiastically for a time and passed into somnolence, but have never 
died, and be it said in all their varied careers, never took a backward 
step. So, no matter how soon the enthusiasm of the get-together ban- 
quet wained, the community was the gainer. This state of affairs is 
bound to exist until the time comes when the little city outgrows its vil- 
lage clothes and becomes sufficiently large and important to support a 
paid secretary and maintain a creditable headquarters. It takes money 
to make the mare go, and this is especially true as respects chambers of 

On account of the peculiar topography of the country and what 
would appear to be an unusually favorable arrangement in location of 
the Valley towns, several attempts have been made to organize on a 
firm foundation an Imperial Valley Chamber of Commerce, having as 
its directors a member selected by the respective local chambers and for 
its object the effective co-operation and co-ordination of all Valley in- 
terests. At first glance this would appear easy of accomplishment and, 
without argument, the thing to be desired as a practical proposition. 
However, it is unworkable, as has been demonstrated, by the failure of 
more than one earnest attempt at that kind of co-operation. The plan 
is impracticable chiefly for the reason that Imperial Valley towns, in 
common with all rapidly growing western cities, have an intense and 
pardonable pride in themselves and, inasmuch as the main office of a 



Valley chamber can be located at but one place, the situation has always 
proven a source of extreme humiliation to the unfavored communities, 
regardless of the fact that the office should be located in the spot most 
likely to produce the best results for all. The original Imperial Valley 
Chamber of Commerce, beset though it was with difficulties insuperable, 
did a valuable work for the Valley, as have its numerous successors, all 
now passed into the realm of good things that could not live. Many of 
the ablest men of the county were, at one time or another, earnest and 
enthusiastic workers in the Valley chamber, and the chamber in its day 
played a big part in shaping the destinies of our incomparable Valley, 
thereby justifying its creation by the test of good works. The Imperial 
Valley Chamber of Commerce was finally absorbed by the office of the 
county development agent, an office created by the county board of 
supervisors and supported by taxation. The first county development 
agent was Arthur M. Nelson, who led the first contingent of Liberty 
boys to Camp Lewis, American Lake, Washington, where he is at the 
present time. Nelson made an efficient publicity agent, and his going 
was a decided loss to the Valley. Since his departure the development 
agent's office has remained unfilled. 

Coming now to the chamber of commerce situation as it exists at the 
present time, the spring of the year 1918, we find practically all of the 
Valley towns with active organizations. The great war in which the 
United States is engaged has brought serious responsibilities to all com- 
mercial organizations undreamed of in times of peace, and the cham- 
bers of commerce in Imperial Valley have responded patriotically to the 
call. The chambers of commerce of America, taken collectively, are the 
national stabilizers, and it can be said that each individual chamber acts 
as such for its respective community ; certainly this is true with the 
Valley chambers. The directorates are composed of level-headed men, 
who, when something comes up vital to the welfare of the community, 
whether that something originates in the national capital at Washington 
or with the local board of city trustees, consider the matter intelligently 
and then act with the full knowledge that they are expressing the senti- 
ment of the people affected. The desires or opinions of individuals ex- 
pressed separately have, as a rule, but little force; express them 
through the local chamber of commerce and quick action usually re- 


Due to the fact that the great irrigation canals which furnish the all- 
important water to our ranchers, reach Imperial County by dropping 
down into Lower California, Mexico, together with the fact that the 
Colorado River, the source of that water, constitutes the boundary line 
between California and Arizona, has made it necessary that this section 
secure official recognition at Washington more frequently than any 
other section of the State, and in securing this recognition our cham- 
bers of commerce have rendered invaluable assistance. Not only have 
their co-operation been sought at Washington, but they have been called 
upon only recently to take a stand in regard to certain undesirable con- 
ditions which had been created affecting the moral welfare of the Val- 
ley. The response was immediate and effective, and the saving to the 
people resulting therefrom was great indeed, viewed either from a 
moral or financial standpoint. Remove the chamber of commerce from 
the community and you strangle the tap-root of progress. 

While, as has been stated, the chambers of the Valley are function- 
ing to the best of their ability, only one so far has reached that stage of 
opulence permitting the luxury of a secretary who spends his entire 
time in the conduct of the chamber's affairs. El Centro being the largest 
of the Valley towns, and the railroad center of the Valley, finally, two 
years ago, emerged from the stage of spasmodic reorganizations of her 
chamber of commerce and decided to establish an organization with 
stability and dignity enough to be a credit to the Valley's metropolis. 
Accordingly several of the business and professional men of the city 
who had made a success in their various lines, took the matter up, spent 
their time and money in raising a sufficient fund to guarantee at least 
one year of existence, elected progressive citizens, with Mr. A. L. 
Richmond as president, to direct the affairs of the chamber, engaged 
Mr. Don C. Bitler, a newspaper man, as secretary, and launched forth 
to "do things" for El Centro. For the first time in the history of any 
Imperial Valley city the end of the year saw the chamber financially a 
"going concern," which was the source of great satisfaction to the men 
who had given so liberally of their time in directing its affairs, and, 
best of all, the chamber had become recognized by all, except a few 
alleged business men with cobwebs on their merchandise, as an indis- 
pensable asset to the community. At the end of the first year Mr. Rich- 
mond retired as president and Mr. F. B. Fuller, president of the El 



Centro National Bank and a pioneer of El Centro, was elected to take 
his place. Soon after this Mr. Bitler resigned as secretary, returning to 
the newspaper field, and Wayne Compton, who had had charge of Im- 
perial Valley's interests at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition 
held in San Francisco in 191 5, and the commercial publicity for all of 
Southern California at the Panama-California International Exposition 
at San Diego in 1916, was offered the commercial secretaryship. He ac- 
cepted the offer and still holds the position. 

At the expiration of Mr. Fuller's term as president, so faithful had 
he been to the interests of the chamber that he was unanimously chosen 
to succeed himself over his very earnest protest, and so the El Centro 
Chamber of Commerce enters auspiciously upon its third year of vigor- 
ous activity. 

Because of its location, El Centro (Spanish for "The Center") is 
naturally the clearinghouse for business in Imperial Valley, and it 
naturally follows that, while the chamber of commerce, strictly speak- 
ing, is an El Centro institution and supported by El Centro money, it is 
the fountain head for Valley information. Faithfully and regularly its 
eleven directors meet every Thursday night, and the amount of impor- 
tant business handled at these meetings is a revelation to anyone who 
has never sat through a meeting. Space does not permit a recitation of 
the big things this organization has done and is doing for El Centro and 
the Valley. 

The El Centro Chamber of Commerce has already become recognized 
as one of the most active and important in the West, and its usefulness 
has just begun. With the rapid development of the Valley and conse- 
quent growth of El Centro, accelerated as it will be by the coming of 
another railroad, now building, will in the next decade take its place 
among the leading organizations of its kind in America. 


There is no more rational or potential expression or indication of the 
permanency and enduring growth in the commercial, industrial and so- 
cial sides of a community than is to be found in the establishment of 
Masonic organizations and their subsequent expansion. One of the un- 
answerable arguments in favor of the high order of social advancement 
in the Imperial Valley is to be found in the strength and character of 
its Masonic bodies. And incontrovertible is the fact that no community 
elsewhere can boast of a cleaner, higher or prouder type of citizenship 
than is now to be found within the ranks of Freemasonry in the Im- 
perial Valley. 

As in the past, the experience of the Masons of the Valley has dif- 
fered little, if in any degree, from that of other communities in respect 
of the trials and tribulations of primary organization. Here, as else- 
where, "ups and downs" have been enough to make the stoutest heart 
quail before repeated failures and disappointments. But, true to the 
spirit of Masonry, its past history and traditions through the centuries 
since its birth, it has fought its way slowly and steadily and surely to 
the front and over the top, until today its votaries are legion and com- 
ponent parts of the brain and brawn, the bone and sinew of the land 
and the salt of the earth. 

Masonry in the Imperial Valley numbers the leading citizens, busi- 
ness men, professional men, and men in every walk of life whose char- 
acters are above reproach and who are numbered among those who 
"builded better than they knew." And it is not saying too much to make 
the assertion that Masonry has taken a marvelous hold upon the hearts 
of its people in the Imperial Valley, and is growing splendidly in a high- 
ly intelligent and systematic fashion. This applies to the symbolic lodges 
and the Eastern Star primarily and fundamentally, where Masonry 
plants its standard and sets its foundation stones in adamant as solid 



and immovable as the eternal Rock of Ages. The membership of the 
five symbolic lodges and the five Eastern Star chapters of the Valley is 
one to be proud of in any community on earth. 

There is no better evidence of the presence of high social standards 
than the existence of these bodies, and no surer evidence of advancing 
prosperity than their rapid growth. And this applies with equal force 
and effect to every part of California, where Masonry is growing by 
leaps and bounds and numbering among its disciples the best that so- 
ciety has to give. And this is good, viewed in the light of the quiet, un- 
obtrusive, unostentatious but none the less God-given work of charity 
accomplished by Freemasonry among the nations of the earth since time 
began, and especially since the birth of the present awful world-war, 
the most terrible holocaust of carnage the world has ever seen, where 
the human family is receiving its fearsome baptism of blood — and to 
what end ? 

Masonry is filling its allotted niche in this world of exclamation and 
interrogation points for the dispensation of charity to stricken hearts 
and suffering humanity, the alleviation of distress among men and 
women. Mason or profane, and the coming of a world peace, "when 
war shall be known no more," and "when the reign of our blessed 
Emanuel, the Prince of Peace, the great Captain of our salvation shall 
become universal and eternal." 

No one who knows will begrudge to Masonry the exalted position it 
has attained among the nations of the earth as the greatest charitable 
organization the world has ever known. 


In Imperial Valley, the vast inland empire with its untold millions of 
commercial wealth, where cotton is king and the mighty Colorado River 
is diverted into irrigation ditches, Pythianism wended its way soon 
after the pioneer had demonstrated the vast richness of its soil. In Pyth- 
ianism this large expanse of country is officially known as the 34th 
Convention District of the Domain of California. 

Pythianism invaded Imperial County in 1906, thus making it possible 
for the foundation of the "lowest down lodges on earth." Imperial 
Lodge No. 36 was instituted in the city of Imperial on September 39th 
of that year. There were 20 charter members and the largest number 



ever reached was 22 members. After a brief struggle it surrendered its 
charter to the Grand Lodge in June of 1910, though it had not reported 
to that body since December of 1907. 

In the spring of 191 1 another attempt was made to plant the banner 
of Pythianism, but this time in the city of Brawley. Through the un- 
tiring efforts of E. A. Morris, a member of Fort Bragg Lodge No. 24, a 
lodge was finally instituted in Brawley on June 15, 1911, with 23 char- 
ter members. Brawley Lodge No. 292 today is one of the most active 
lodges in the Valley, though not the largest, having only a membership 
of about 100. 

Holtville Lodge No. 301 at Holtville was organized through the ef- 
forts of J. H. Whistler, a member of Helmet Lodge No. 25, and was 
instituted April 1, 191 2. The lodge is the smallest one in the Valley, 
only having a membership of 47. 

The organization of El Centro Lodge No. 315, located at El Centro, 
was brought about mainly through the efforts of J. Stanley Brown, 
who at that time held membership in Redlands Lodge No. 186. J. Stan- 
ley Brown is now spoken of as the "Father of 315." On November 26, 
1913, this lodge was instituted with a charter membership of 123. The 
lodge has progressed until today it has nearly 200 members. Officers: 
Chancellor Commander, J. H. House; vice-chancellor, A. L. Lackey; 
prelate, R. A. Chestnut ; master of work, Marvin Moore ; keeper of rec- 
ords and seal, R. Kellerstraus ; master of finance, B. C. Leech; master 
of exchequer, Y. N. Adams ; inner guard, F. M. Moore ; outer guard, 
L. R. Stillman. 

Calexico was the last to institute a lodge, and this was accomplished 
mainly through the efforts of the other lodges in the Valley. The lodge 
was instituted on March 13, 1914, with 83 charter members. The lodge 
has prospered ever since the institution and today has a membership of 
about 150. The Calexico Lodge bears the distinction of being the only 
lodge in the State of California located on the Mexican border. Officers : 
Chancellor commander, D. L. Ault ; vice-chancellor, E. L. Parker ; 
prelate, W. B. Park, Jr.; master of work, A. E. Liscahk; keeper of 
records and seal, H. W. Going; master of finance, R. G. Goree; master 
of exchequer, Max Harris ; inner guard, H. J. Edwards ; outer guard, 
James Price. 

The honor roll of Pythians of the Valley lodges in the U. S. service 


contains 31 names, and nearly every branch of the service is repre- 


On April 11, 1914, El Oasis Temple No. 173, D. O. K. K., was in- 
stituted with a charter membership of 150. The affairs of the Temple 
have prospered until today the roster contains nearly 300 names. The 
ceremonials of the Temple are held annually and are attended by mem- 
bers from all over Southern California, for they are the creators of 
clean enjoyment for all Pythian Knights. 

Royal vizier, Lou Philley; grand emir, Geo. Dixon; sheik, E. J. 
Clark ; secretary, R. Kellerstraus ; treasurer, A. C Nieman ; satrap, C. 
B. Farris ; sahib, T. A. Tunstall ; mahedi, G. H. Mathews. 


The youngest organization in the Imperial Valley Pythian family is El 
Centro Temple No. 77, Pythian Sisters, which was instituted February 
28, 1 9 1 6, by Past Grand Chief Mary Livingston. The institution was 
brought about by Mrs. Lulu Thompson, then a member of Moonstone 
Temple No. 101. The charter membership was about 40, and today the 
membership has increased to over 80. The sisters are very much inter- 
ested in Red Cross work and have charge of the local Red Cross head- 
quarters two days of each week. 

Most excellent chief, Mrs. Zella North ; excellent senior, Mrs. Sophia 
Kellerstraus ; excellent junior, Mrs. Marvin Moore ; manager, Mrs. Y. 
N. Adams; mistress of records and correspondence, Mrs. Cathalene 
Moffat; mistress of finance, Mrs. Frank M. Moore; protector of the 
temple, Mrs. F. G. Wier; guard of the temple, Mrs. G. W. Hortson. 

EL CENTRO LODGE, 1 325, B. P. O. E. 

El Centro Lodge, 1325, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, 
was organized in January, 1916, the institution being done by the San 
Diego lodge. J. Stanley Brown was the first Exalted Ruler. The charter 
roll consisted of 35 men, all former Elks. Phil D. Swing was elected 
Exalted Ruler in March of the same year and during the next twelve 
months the baby lodge reached a membership of 75, more than 100 per 
cent increase. Vern R. Bishop was the next Exalted Ruler, and the 



lodge now numbers 120 members. Otis B. Tout will be in the Exalted 
Ruler's chair for the next year. During its existence the El Centro 
lodge has participated in many patriotic and charitable events and is 
rapidly becoming a forceful factor and an aid to the government in the 
present war. A five-year program is being mapped out. Club rooms will 
be leased and furnished this summer and a home will be built after the 


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No one expects Class A buildings in a new community, nor is the art 
feature ever highly developed in such a locality. We must consider 
things relatively, and it is great progress that has been made here, and 
the beginning is at hand for "cities beautiful" that may easily be real- 
ized in the time to come. 

From the formal opening of the Valley in 1900 until 1907 the devel- 
opment was from tent houses up to characteristic cheap frontier struc- 
tures. Building materials were very high priced, owing to high freight 
rates, and very little money was available for buildings on account of 
the extreme necessity for improving the land. 

During the year 1907 quite an activity in building began and rapid 
colonization made it desirable to provide suitable schools and public 
buildings for a people intent on permanent residence. 

The cost of building material made it necessary to use local products 
as much as possible, and this necessarily limited the art impulse. But in 
a short time there was an improvement in this respect, and in 1908 the 
Valley launched out in a manner that produced as good a class of 
buildings as could be expected in a new country, building many credit- 
able school buildings in country districts and grammar school buildings 
in the towns. 

In 1909 the Imperial Union High School district erected at Imperial 
a good high school building which in design and arrangement ranks 
with the best in the state for its size. 

In 1910 the Holtville Union High School district followed with a 
similar well-constructed high school building. 

In 191 1 El Centro Union High School district built a high school 
unit which has been added to up to date at a total cost of about a quarter 
of a million dollars. 



Brawley and Calexico Union districts have also built fine high school 
buildings, bringing the total investments in high school buildings in the 
valley to about $700,000, all being strictly modern structures. 

The grammar school buildings in all of the Valley cities are of the 
best designs and well laid out for the work intended, while most of them 
are built of durable materials. 

There are three Carnegie public libraries in the Valley, at Imperial, 
El Centro and Calexico, all of which are well-designed structures, and 
each city is well provided with church buildings for several denomina- 

Each town has made ample provision with fine hotels for the accom- 
modation of the stranger. The famous Barbara Worth Hotel in El 
Centro, begun in 1913, would be a credit to any city. 

One and two-story store buildings in the retail districts of the Valley 
cities have arcades over the sidewalks and are wide spreading in de- 
sign. Some of them have fronts of handsome design, which the mer- 
chants so trim as to make effects and displays equal to large city stores. 
Among the store buildings of importance are the Anderson building in 
Calexico, which cost $75,000, and the Auditorium building in the same 
city, which cost $50,000. They are both of reinforced concrete and of 
good design. 

The industrial district of El Centro contains several handsome re- 
inforced concrete buildings, notable among them being a model cream- 
ery, the largest west of the Missouri river. 

The residence districts in all of the Valley cities are being built up 
with handsome bungalows and some good residences costing from 
$10,000 to $15,000. Most of these are typical of California cities, while 
others have extensive screened porches and screened sleeping rooms, 
adapted to a warm climate. 

Imperial County built a temporary court house at El Centro, the 
county seat, in the central part of the city, in 1908, where county busi- 
ness still is being transacted, but the county has a five-acre tract on 
West Main Street, on which now is being constructed a jail building at 
a cost of $90,000. This is a modern, fire-proof, reinforced concrete 
building. It will be a unit in the future permanent court house, which 
is to be a structure of modern design, incorporating all the features 
necessary to make it one of the best court houses in the state. 



In general, the architectural designs are above the standard, as com- 
pared with similar localities. The public buildings follow the designs 
which are common throughout the states in the best localities, while 
the stores and business buildings are distinct in their arcade effects, 
which lend themselves to novel designs. 



The pioneers of the country leave a lasting imprint upon a locality, 
for they have laid the foundation stones, and the building that follows 
must in a measure conform to the foundation. 

Imperial County was doubly blessed in its pioneer women, for in ad- 
dition to the courage, endurance and perseverance which are the com- 
mon characteristics of all peoples who build new empires, these first- 
comers possessed culture and vision that gave them sight beyond mate- 
rial necessities. It was owing to their determination that the lives of 
their families should not be bare of the culture that united effort gives 
that these women bravely banded themselves together to look after the 
mental and social welfare of their community. 

As soon as possible each town had its women's club, alive to the many 
civic and social needs of the people, and working tirelessly, sometimes 
against almost overwhelming odds, that the needed reforms should be 

Much of the beauty of the Valley is the direct result of the efforts of 
the women's clubs in planting trees, grass, shrubbery and flowers. 

On February 22, 1910, the Imperial Valley Federation of Women s 
Clubs was organized in El Centro, thereby widening the scope of work. 
The social feature of this occasion was carried out in a luncheon that 
was much more elaborate than anything before attempted in this new 
country, and was indeed an occasion long to be remembered. 

Mrs. Violette S. Campbell, of the El Centro Women's Ten Thousand 
Club, was elected the first president. She ably filled the position and 
was re-elected, having the distinction of being the only woman who has 
held the office for two years. At the close of Mrs. Campbell's adminis- 
tration the term was limited to one year, the presidency to be given in 
rotation to each club in the federation. 

Committees to handle the different phases of club work were added 


as the need presented itself. Today there are six chairmen of the fol- 
lowing departments: Birds and Wild Life, Civics and Forestry, Club 
Extension, History and Landmarks, Child Welfare, Home Economics. 
The standing committees are: Entertainment, Press and Parliamen- 

The most important event in the life of the federation was the 14th 
convention of the Southern California District Federation of Women's 
Clubs, which convened in El Centro on November 9, 191 5. Perhaps no 
other community in the world could boast of so much accomplished in 
so short a time as could Imperial Valley, and the visiting club women 
enjoyed it to the full — from the new Barbara Worth Hotel with its pic- 
tured story of reclamation, to the wonderful afternoon at Calexico, 
when the Women's Progress Club entertained the visitors. A feature of 
this entertainment was exhibits of a variety of things that could be 
raised here, and a visit to the cotton and oil mills ; nor were the other 
clubs outdone by Calexico, each club gave that which was uniquely ap- 
propriate to the locality. A luncheon at Brawley was furnished by the 
Northend clubs. Holtville served tea at the Harold Bell Wright home, 
and Heber served home-grown dates at the Fawcett ranch. 

The convention brought much to Imperial Valley, and Imperial Val- 
ley also gave much to its visitors ; as one delegate expressed it, "I am 
sure we all had Imperial Valley in our souls, and all we need to do is to 
develop it." 

The most notable guest at the convention was Mrs. E. D. Knight, 
State President of the Federation of Women's Clubs. 

During the present year the federation has specialized in patriotic 
work. The president, Mrs. Joseph F. Seymour, Jr., of El Centro, has 
urged upon the club women the necessity for keeping up all helpful 
organizations. The federation has purchased thrift stamps with their 
surplus funds. 

The following are the names of the federation presidents, their 
terms and the clubs they represent : 

Mrs. Violette S. Campbell El Centro 1910-1911 

Mrs. Will Best, Brawley 1912 

Mrs. J. E. Peck, Calexico 1913 

Mrs. J. R. Stevenson, Imperial 1914 


Mrs. A. M. Williams, Holtville (resigned) 

Mrs. C. F. Turner, Calexico (unexpired term) 1915 

Mrs. W. S. Cummings, Heber 1916 

Mrs. J. F. Seymour, Jr., El Centro i9 l 7 

Mrs. H. L. Fulton, Brawley (elect) 19 18 

From a small beginning the federation has grown until there are 
eleven clubs in the organization, the Bard Women's Club and the 
Mothers' Club of El Centro federating this year. 

The remainder of the chapter is given over to the histories of the 
clubs which compose the federation. 

woman's ten thousand club of el centro 

In the spring of 1908, after many of the women had gone out of the 
Valley for their vacations, the men who "stayed behind" gathered from 
day to day (for their luncheon and dinner) at the Palm Roof Garden, 
and at these gatherings pledged each other to work for a "City Beauti- 
ful," with a population of ten thousand. Thus the club got its name. 

In October of that year, at the instance of the opening of the new 
Oregon Hotel, a banquet was served, the Men's Club having charge of 
the program. At this meeting (to quote from an article in the Morning 
Star of October 23rd) Mrs. A. W. Swanson read a paper on "Woman's 
Civic Influence," in which she urged the women of El Centro to co- 
operate with the Men's Club in their efforts for the upbuilding of "Our 
City Beautiful." Before the close of this auspicious gathering President 
Allen Kelly of the Ten Thousand Club appointed a committee of five 
women "to take such steps as were necessary to form a woman's sec- 
tion, auxiliary to the Men's Club." 

In pursuance of this call, such a meeting was held on October 30th 
and the following were chosen to serve as officers : President, Mrs. A. 
W. Swanson; vice-president, Mrs. J. M. Eshleman; recording secre- 
tary, Mrs. Genevieve Williams; corresponding secretary, Mrs. C. E. 
Paris ; treasurer, Mrs. C. F. Hayden. Mesdames C. F. Buttress, J. R. 
Garre'n, D. V. Noland, and Louis Havermale were elected as directors. 
This nucleus of a woman's club began its existence with a charter mem- 
bership of thirty-five. 

On November 17-18 of that year the Woman's Section co-operated 


with the Men's Club in the entertainment and reception given the South- 
ern California Editorial Association, which assembled in convention in 
El Centro. 

Committees were appointed on "Parks," the promotion of gardens 
and tree planting, also on the elimination of dust from our streets, and 
in December, 1908, the Woman's Section took charge of the domestic 
booth at the Imperial County Fair. 

Mrs. A. W. Swanson's term of office extended over a period of three 
years, laying the foundation for what is destined to be the largest 
women's organization in the great Imperial Valley. During her presi- 
dency the Men's Ten Thousand Club formed themselves into a chamber 
of commerce, and the Woman's Section became the Woman's Ten 
Thousand Club of El Centro, federating with the state organization in 
January, 1909. 

In February, 1910, a County Club Day was held in El Centro, to 
which women from all parts of the Valley were welcomed. At this time 
was formed the Imperial County Federation of Women's Clubs, the 
second county in California to so organize, and Mrs. Violette Campbell 
of El Centro was elected as president. 

This now thriving club, looking well to the future, invested in a 
choice piece of property on State Street, laying the foundation for a 
city park and club house. 

Mrs. R. B. Vaile was the second president of the Woman's Ten 
Thousand Club, holding office for two terms, from 191 1 to 1913. The 
club, during this period, was passing through the kindergarten stage, 
seeking self-expression, finding, from week to week, new ways to be 
helpful to the community, and gaining in strength and members. 

The Philanthropic section, under the leadership of Mrs. Flora Mc- 
Kusick, did splendid work. Also the club, looking toward the moral and 
social uplift of the community, was sponsor to a course of Lyceum 

Mrs. W. S. Fawcett was elected as the third president of the W. T. 
T. Club. Her reign of two terms, from 1913 to 1915, was characterized 
for its brilliant social life, an important factor in a rapidly-growing 
community. And, it having been determined that the site first purchased 
for a club home was valuable as a business location, a new club house 
site on the corner of Seventh and Olive was purchased. 



Numerous benefit days were given by the merchants, strengthening 
the bond between the women's organization and the business interests 
of the city. 

Mrs. A. H. Griswold was elected to succeed Mrs. W. S. Fawcett as 
president, serving the club in that capacity from 1915 to 1917. Her ad- 
ministration was characterized by the establishment of a Lyceum 
course, which was, after the second year, merged into a week's Chau- 
tauqua. Better babies contests, extending over a week of activities, 
were held each year, and the work of the Social Service committee was 
enlarged in scope, the young ladies of the city on two occasions giving 
a most successful charity ball, thereby raising the funds with which 
the club carried on its humane work. 

In November of 1915 the Woman's Ten Thousand Club had the great 
privilege of being hostess for the Imperial County Federation to the 
Southern District Convention, C. F. W. C. This convention was de- 
scribed by the state president, Mrs. Edward Dexter Knight of San 
Francisco, as "unique in its setting, unique in the hospitality which it 
offered, unique in the pioneer spirit which characterized its delibera- 
tions. The women of Imperial Valley met at the cross roads and or- 
ganized that they might contribute more forcefully and fully to the 
work of the brave pioneers who had transformed a great desert of in- 
terminable sand into a productive and picturesque dwelling place. Their 
influence is recognized in their wonderful Imperial Valley. It will be 
felt and appreciated by the federation." Also, on February 22, 1917, 
the Woman's Ten Thousand Club had the distinctive honor of enter- 
taining the general federation president of women's clubs, Mrs. Josiah 
Evans Cowles, at the largest gathering of club women ever held in the 

Mrs. W. S. Fawcett was again elected to the presidency of the club, 
serving in that position one term, from 1917 to 1918. During her ad- 
ministration the club has gained largely in membership, the gain being 
more than double that of any other year. Also the club debt has been 
materially reduced. This is all the more noteworthy as the club has 
given no "money raising" entertainments during the year. Its member- 
ship being intensely patriotic, and wishing in every way possible to 
stand behind the government, it has given way to the Red Cross and 
other money-making activities incidental to our country being at war. 


The social service work of the club has been merged into Red Cross 
work, about three hundred and fifty dollars having been raised through 
the efforts of the club women for carrying on this splendid work. The 
present administration will end in May of this year. 

At the last meeting in March the following were elected to serve as 
officers of the Woman's Ten Thousand Club for the year 1918-1919: 
President, Mrs. F. B. Fuller; vice-president, Mrs. M. F. Kepley; re- 
cording secretary. Mrs. \Ym. Fleming; corresponding secretary, Mrs. 
Ernest Poston ; treasurer. Mrs. Chas. J. Ritz. Directors : Mrs. J. F. 
Seymour, Jr.. Mrs. E. E. Clements. Mrs. Robert Campbell, Mrs. War- 
ren Currier. 


This club was organized one afternoon in July. 1904, under the name 
of the Brawley Woman's Literary Club. The first meeting was held in 
a little adobe school-house. Later the club branched out into other lines 
of work and dropped the "literary" from the name. leaving it as it is at 
present. The club was the first women's club in Imperial Valley, was 
federated with the district in 1906. and is also federated with the Na- 
tional Federation of Woman's Clubs. 

At present the club is much interested in Red Cross and war work of 
all kinds and is strongly agitating a club house. 


was organized October 31, 1908. with Mrs. Lee Sargent as president. 
The presidents following 1908 are as follows: Mrs. G. M. Vermilya. 
1909-1910; Mrs. M. A. Kendall. 1910-1911; Mrs. G. M. Vermilya, 
1911-1912; Mrs. W. B. Richards and Mrs. Vaughn Francis. 1912- 
1914; Mrs. Karl Fahring. 1914-1916: Mrs. W. L. Huebner. 1915-1916; 
Mrs. O. C. Harris. 1916-1917: Mrs. R. W. Hoover, 1917-1918. 

The activities of the club have been devoted to dries and literature, 
such as study of American writers, Shakespeare's "Cymbeline" and 
"Taming of the Shrew." George Eliot's "Adam Bede." Meredith's "Di- 
ana of the Crossways," Barry's "Little Minister." and Hawthorne's 
"Scarlet Letter." Money and time have been devoted to civic better- 
ment, and in 1918 a War Savings society has been organized. 



Was organized in February, 1909, with forty members. Mrs. Mott H. 
Arnold was the first president and Mrs. W. A. Edgar recording secre- 
tary. The following have served as president since : Mrs. Edgar Nance, 
Mrs. S. E. De Rackin, Mrs. Otto Storm and Mrs. J. A. Bishop. When 
the Imperial Valley Federation was organized in El Centro, February 
22, 1910, the Imperial Club was the largest club in the Valley, having 
a membership of over 70. The first reciprocity day was observed in 
Imperial, the club having as guests 125 women from the four clubs 
then just beginning club life — Brawley, Calexico, El Centro and Holt- 

Among the first efforts of the club was the Ellen Beach Yaw con- 
cert, given February, 1910, at which $400 was realized from sale of 
tickets. The activities of the club were directed along civic lines, and 
many uplifting and beneficial undertakings were espoused in those 
early pioneer days. 


The Imperial Valley College Women's Club owes its existence to Mrs. 
E. D. Stuart of Imperial, who, when she first came to the Valley, 
missed the pleasant associations of the Riverside branch of the Asso- 
ciation of Collegiate Alumnae. In October, 1914, Mrs. Stuart invited 
the women whom she knew to be college graduates to meet at her home, 
and the organization was formed by the thirteen women who accepted 
the invitation. It was decided to become affiliated with the national or- 
ganization as the Imperial Valley Branch of the Association of Colle- 
giate Alumnae. 

At first the membership of the club was largely composed of teach- 
ers, but now less than half the members are teachers ; a few are office 
workers, the rest are married women, many of whom live on ranches. 
There are now fifty-one members, representing thirty-three colleges and 
universities. Membership is of two kinds, regular and associate. The 
regular members are graduates of the colleges which belong to the As- 
sociation of Collegiate Alumnae ; the associate members are women who 
have had at least one year of academic work in an institution which has 
a four-year course leading to an A. B. degree. 



The club meets eight times a year, at least once in each of the six 
towns from which its members come. The programs, besides being lit- 
erary and musical, deal with such topics as parent-teachers associations, 
child welfare, household economics, woman suffrage, vocational guid- 
ance, peace and war. Members have been very active in the work of the 
Red Cross and food conservation organizations in their various towns. 
The president, Mrs. C. F. Turner, is chairman of the Junior Red Cross 
committee in Calexico, and is one of the four-minute speakers on food 

In 1915 the College Women's Club became affiliated with the Im- 
perial County Federation of Women's Clubs, and the next year it co- 
operated with other clubs in the national Baby Week movement, pre- 
paring an exhibit of models, charts and maps, which was displayed in 
some of the Valley towns. 

The club has enjoyed visits from several distinguished people from 
outside the Valley. Miss Mary Wilson and Miss Ethel Moore came as 
vice-presidents of the Pacific section of the Association of Collegiate 
Alumnae. Miss Moore brought with her Dr. Aurelia Reinhart, president 
of Mills College, who gave an inspiring talk on the college woman and 
the commonwealth. At one meeting Reverend Omsted gave a lecture 
and showed an exhibit relating to the Indians of Alaska, among whom 
he had lived and worked. At the fourth meeting held after the entrance 
of the United States into the war, Prof. Frederick Monsen gave a lec- 
ture on Germany, giving personal observations made during a visit 
there just before the war. 

Naturally this club is interested in the educational matters of the 
county. This interest has manifested itself in two very tangible ways, a 
petition which resulted in the appointment of a college club member to 
the position of truant officer for the county, and the establishment of 
an annual scholarship of one hundred dollars to be given to help an 
Imperial Valley girl through her first year at college. One such scholar- 
ship has been awarded already and another will be given this year. 

The College Women's Club labors under difficulties involved in the 
fact that the members live in so many different towns, and at such dis- 
tances from each other, but by many this is felt to be an attraction. 
The members derive much benefit and pleasure from the opportunity to 
know women from every part of the county. As the club grows older 


and its policies more settled it will increase in influence in the com- 


On January 14, 1914, a few ladies of Heber and vicinity met and or- 
ganized the Heber Progress Club. The constitution of the Federation of 
Women's Clubs was adopted and Mrs. J. E. Brock was elected presi- 
dent. The first business transacted by the new club following the elec- 
tion of officers, was to instruct the corresponding secretary to apply 
for membership in the Imperial County Federation of Women's Clubs, 
thus at once taking a part in the club life in the Valley. The club also 
belongs to the district and state organizations. During the fall of 1915 
this small club had two red letter days. First, on October 16th, the an- 
nual conference meeting of the Imperial Valley Federation was held at 
Heber; in November of the same year the club had the pleasure and 
honor of entertaining the members of the district convention at lunch- 
eon, served in the beautiful rose garden of the Fawcett ranch home 
near Heber. This was an occasion long to be remembered. 

In the year 1916 the Heber Progress Club had the honor of furnish- 
ing the president and recording secretary for the I. C. F. W. C, Mrs. 
L. A. Barnum having been elected to the office of president upon her 
removal from the Valley. Mrs. W. S. Cummings was elected to serve 
out the term, with Mrs. A. G. Young corresponding secretary. 

Probably one of the best things done by the club was the exhibit, The 
Model Dairy, furnished for the "Better Babies" week, and an open 
meeting for all the mothers of the locality for a better babies program 
has been made an annual feature of the club program. A bird day pro- 
gram for the last week in March has also been made a permanent fea- 

During the current year the activities of the club (in common with 
all similar organizations) have been directed toward war work, and the 
programs have been upon patriotic subjects, noteworthy among which 
have been days devoted to an outline of the map of the fighting line, 
showing the position of the trenches and troops, and a day devoted to a 
study of our flag, its origin, meaning, and the proper manner and regu- 
lations for its display. 

The Heber Progress Club has responded nobly to all calls upon or- 


ganized service for war work, and the Red Cross membership drive, 
the Liberty Bond sale on woman's day, the Hoover food pledge cam- 
paign and the Y. W. C. A. work were all undertaken and accomplished 
under charge of the club. 

Altogether it is worthy of record that the banding together of this 
small number of women under the federation charter has done much 
both for themselves and the community. 


In February, 191 5, Mrs. C. W. Brown and several other women, be- 
lieving that the needs of the women of Calipatria for social life and 
culture could be filled in a measure by organizing a women's club, 
brought the matter before other women, with the result that a club hav- 
ing thirty-five members was found. It was named the Calipatria Wom- 
en's Club. Mrs. C. W. Brown was the first president, and besides the 
social affairs given that year, which were the most elaborate in the his- 
tory of the club, the club was largely instrumental in passing the $40,- 
000 bond issue for the Calipatria Grammar School, which carried unan- 

In 1916 Mrs. W. J. West was elected president. A series of social 
dances brought to the club a substantial bank balance, to be turned over 
next year to be administered by Mrs. Brown, who was again elected 

A Liberty bond was bought, garbage cans — paid for by the women's 
clubs — were placed on the main streets. A donation was made to the 
Y. W. C. A., and every Thursday has been set aside by club members to 
assist at the Red Cross work-room. The club actively assisted in organ- 
izing the Red Cross and have donated largely to its support. 

The first year it was organized the club joined the County District 
and State Federation, and has always followed more or less closely the 
work outlined by the federation for its programs. 

Calipatria is a new town and has all its civic and social problems to 
work out, and the Calipatria Women's Club is doing its share. It has 
not always been able to accomplish all it planned, but its members are 
unselfish workers, always giving generously service for the betterment 
of their club, their town and their country. 



Organized as a local unit of the National Congress of Mothers in 
March, 1917, with a charter membership of thirty-five, the El Centro 
Mothers' Study Club has for its primary object the study of the great- 
est of all professions, that of parenthood. The science of child training 
is making wonderful progress, and the intelligent, progressive mother 
realizes this and wants to avail herself of the full benefits of all that is 
being discovered on the subject. 

The members of this club are all mothers of young children and are 
earnest and enthusiastic in their systematic study of the child along 
prescribed lines, using as their course of study text matter prepared by 
the National Congress of Mothers. 

The club became affiliated with the Imperial County Federation of 
Women's Clubs two months after its organization, and being the young- 
est club in the federation it has hardly had time to finds its bearings in 
the club world, yet the members feel that under the able leadership of 
its first president, Mrs. B. C. Leich, and Mrs. Jack Spencer, the pres- 
ent leader, they have all gained mutual help and inspiration. 


The Woman's Improvement Club of Calexico was formed on June 3, 
1908, with twelve members. The club was federated in January, 1910, 
and now has a membership of sixty. The work of the club has always 
been along civic lines, for the betterment of the town. A reading and 
rest room has been maintained for a number of years, with park ad- 
joining. A new Carnegie library has just been completed, which was a 
project fostered by the Woman's Club. In 1916 a park site and civic 
center was planned and a number of the members were active in seeing 
these things carried to a successful finish. Some literary work has also 
been accomplished each year, so that members who are not interested 
in civic work find scope for work along other lines. 




When Imperial Valley was still a part of San Diego County, a few 
white ribboners came to this desert land to make their respective homes. 
No temperance work having been done here, a National Woman's 
Christian Temperance Union organizer, Mrs. Bailey of New York, was 
invited to enter this new field and endeavor to organize ; some prepara- 
tion was made for her coming, and Brawley was the scene of the first 
organization, with a membership of thirty-five charter members, Janu- 
ary 20, 1906. Imperial was second to respond, having a charter mem- 
bership of forty-two persons. Calexico was third with forty-three 
charter members. Mrs. Bailey said that the latter was the largest W. C. 
T. U. she had ever organized. 

Being San Diego County, we became locals of San Diego County W. 
C. T. U. Geographically we were so separated that it was impossible to 
work to any advantage under their jurisdiction and our environment 
required special lines of work. In November, 1906, a general insti- 
tute was held at Imperial. Mrs. Mae Tongier, a national W. C. T. U. 
lecturer, being the guest of honor, was invited to lecture and organize 
locals wherever she thought wise throughout the Valley. The institute 
unanimously requested Mrs. Tongier to present a petition to the State 
W. C. T. U. executive, asking that we be separated from San Diego 
County W. C. T. U. and form an independent federation. In due course 
of time the request was granted. At this time Mrs. Tongier made a tour 
of the Valley and organized El Centro W. C. T. U., also Silsbee, lo- 
cated about six miles to the northwest of El Centro. 

Miss G. T. Stickney, president of the State W. C. T. U., made an 
official visit and organized the forces consisting of five locals into an 
Imperial Valley W. C. T. U. on April 2, 1907, at Imperial. This was 
the first organization of federated forces formed in Imperial Valley. 
Officers elected were: C. Angie Miller, of Brawley, president; Mrs. S. 


T. Bixby, of Imperial, vice-president ; Maybel Edgar, of Imperial, re- 
cording secretary ; Florence Buttress, of El Centro, corresponding sec- 
retary ; Lizzie Kramar, of Silsbee, treasurer. 

Miss Margaret Wiley, state organizer, toured the Valley in the in- 
terest of medal contest work in 1908, and organized a union at East- 
side school house with nine charter members, called the Alamo W. C. 
T. U. At every annual convention an effort was made to hold a county 
gold or silver medal contest. These contests are popular in the locals 
and medals are quite fashionable. In 191 1 a memorial window was con- 
structed in the Christian Church edifice at El Centro, in honor of Mrs. 
Ida Tout, a pioneer temperance worker of Imperial County, much 
loved by her associates. Drinking fountains were installed on the streets 
by the local unions, in all the incorporated cities of the Valley, i. e., El 
Centro, Imperial, Calexico, Holtville and Brawley. A formal dedica- 
tion of each of the fountains to the city trustees by the local W. C. T. 
U. was instituted. The local president presenting the fountain and 
the mayor receiving it for the city with the appropriate exercises, gave 
to our cities filtered ice water for the thirsty. 

Imperial Valley was organized into a county in 1908 and imme- 
diately our Valley W. C. T. U. took on the dignified name of Imperial 
County W. C. T. U. Through continued effort the county was born 
white and the first legal act of the first supervisors was a strong pro- 
hibition ordinance, adding a truly prohibition county to our fair state 
of California. The pioneer temperance workers labored under difficul- 
ties. The County W. C. T. U. sustained a detective fund and purchased 
an apparatus for ascertaining the per cent of alcohol in liquids. Many 
gallons of so-called soft drinks were never drank, leaving the dispenser 
wiser but not richer. 

On February 5, 1909, Holtville was organized, with twenty-eight 
charter members, by C. Angie Miller, county president. 

Mary Stewart, state secretary of the Young People's Branch, organ- 
ized the Jasper W. C. T. U. at the school house, near Calexico. 

Verde W. C. T. U. was organized by C. Angie Miller seven miles 
southeast of Holtville at the Verde school house; Mrs. L. Strain, presi- 

Heber W. C. T. U. was organized with Mrs. M. A. Ritter as first 



Mary Stewart introduced young people's work and organized sev- 
eral classes throughout the county, explaining essay contest work based 
on scientific temperance instructions, laid down in the state school law 
of California. Essay contest work is a department to encourage instruc- 
tions along scientific temperance lines, and several of our young people 
have received state recognition as the best essayists on the given topic, 
receiving $10 as state prize in the grades and $20 as state prize in the 
high school course, in California. 

The Dry California campaign was special for 1914, and was very 
strenuously conducted. A County Temperance Day on October 6, 1914, 
was celebrated at Calipatria by the temperance forces of Imperial Val- 
ley, under the auspices of the County W. C. T. U. Free barbecue din- 
ner, submarine band, parade, program and cantata, "The White Re- 
public," were some of the attractions of the day. A thousand people 
were entertained. 

Bard W. C. T. U. was organized in October, 1914, by the state vice- 
president, Mrs. Hester T. Griffith. 

Election on November 3, 1914, showed Imperial County to be the 
banner county of the state of California. One per cent against two and 
one-half per cent for the prohibition amendment. Every townsite in 
the county has a strong temperance clause in its deeds, ever forbidding 
the giving away of liquor on the premises. 

The W. C. T. U. work is divided into departments numbering as 
high as fifty. We believe in temperance in our cooking and have a de- 
partment that handles cooking flavors and toilet articles, far superior 
in every way to the alcoholic preparations, but without alcohol, called 

Local funds are also raised under this department, by the sale of 
these articles. The pledge stimulates the members to eliminate the 
$1,000,000 annually spent in the manufacture of ordinary extracts and 
toilet articles. 

In 1915 North End W. C. T. U. and Magnolia W .C. T. U. were 
organized by Mrs. C. Angie Miller, county organizer. 

At the annual convention of 191 5 Mrs. Aten presented each of the 
local unions with a beautiful gavel, made from the natural mesquite 
wood, grown on her ranch near Calipatria. 

Mrs. Maggie Newby, county superintendent of mothers' work, 


brought from the state convention banners for Imperial County on sev- 
eral occasions, and organized a Mothers' Club at Brawley that is doing 
a great work. 

Parliamentary Usage has been a county movement, a local and county 
contest being held. Mrs. Feldman of Holtville was a winning contest- 
ant for a state prize. Imperial County has brought home the state par- 
liamentary banners several times. Much efficient work has been done 
by every local union in the county in this department. 

The Trysting Hour or noontide prayer is a custom among the white 
ribboners that is certainly uplifting. This word of prayer at twelve 
o'clock noon constitutes a prayer circle that extends around the globe. 

Life membership was presented by the County W. C. T. U. to the 
following ladies in recognition of efficient service rendered : Mesdames 
C. Angie Miller, Brawley ; Imogen Aten, El Centro ; E. J. Curtis, Holt- 
ville; M. A. Ritter, Heber; Mrs. Kramar, Silsbee; Mae Webb, Calexi- 
co ; Amande Mackey, Imperial ; Mae Plush, Brawley ; Mary E. Vencill, 
El Centro ; May C. Best, Holtville ; Mary E. Royce, El Centro. 

At the 1915 county convention County President C. Angie Miller 
withdrew her name from the list of candidates for county president, 
having served in that capacity for eight consecutive years. Mrs. Imogen 
Aten served as county vice-president for four years. Mrs. Mae Plush 
as county corresponding secretary three years; Mrs. S. T. Bixby as 
county vice-president for two years; Mrs. E. Abbott corresponding 
secretary for two years ; Mrs. W. Edgar secretary for two years ; Mrs. 
Carrie Rapp vice president for two years ; Mrs. Lois Hogan secretary 
for one year; Mrs. M. Carlisle was secretary for one year; Mrs. M. 
Hoyt secretary one year ; Miss Cote corresponding secretary for three 
years ; Mrs. Lizzie Kramar served as county treasurer for nine con- 
secutive years; Mrs. Imogen Aten served as county president for one 
year and six months, Mrs. Amande Mackey completing the year ; Mrs. 
Wilson county treasurer for two years; Mrs. Grace Ruth, present in- 
cumbent ; Mrs. Webb, corresponding secretary, present incumbent ; 
Miss Florence Yarnell, county president at the present time. 

Work for soldiers and sailors has occupied the attention of every 
local in the county since the war was declared. The national organiza- 
tion being recognized throughout the world, assumed her quota of sol- 
diers' and sailors' supplies, and the locals throughout the nation do 


their bit making bags and filling them, trench torches and fuel sticks, 
as well as hospital supplies. The last great move was an ambulance 
drive, the local furnishing its quota of money to the state of war sup- 
plies, and then collectively have raised money to send an ambulance to 
France, fully equipped and manned. The ambulance is dedicated to 
our boys of Imperial County, California, by the Imperial County W. C. 
T. U. of Southern California. 

Brawley was organized January 20, 1906, with thirty-five charter 
members, by Mrs. L. E. Bailey, New York City national W. C. T. U. 
organizer, the first president being C. Angie Miller. The first philan- 
thropic act was to install a watering trough on the street for thirsty 
horses ; these were not the days of automobiles. On May 12, 1909, the 
active members of the Brawley W. C. T. U. completed articles of in- 
corporation for the local organization and incorporated under the state 
laws of California as part of Southern California State W. C. T. U. 
The same year a business lot on G Street in the heart of the city of 
Brawley was purchased through the efforts of the W. C. T. U. Dona- 
tions and proceeds of a two-day flower fair furnished the finances. 
These flower fairs became an annual event for several years, sustain- 
ing a free reading room which was maintained as long as accommoda- 
tions could be obtained in the city. As the city improved the W. C. T. 
U. made improvements on its own property, such as sidewalks and 
street pavements, preparatory to building. A board of trustees is an- 
nually elected and has the property in charge. 

Department work received considerable attention from the first. 
Loyal temperance legion and young people's branches were organized. 

A curfew ordinance was introduced by the W. C. T. U. and went 
into effect in the year of 1914 in the city of Brawley. 

Imperial W. C. T. U. was first organized in 1916, disbanding later. 
It was substantially reorganized in April, 1913, by the state president, 
Mrs. Blanchard, with thirty-six charter members, Mrs.Amande Mackey 
being president. The liquor interests were strong, it being the only wet 
city in the county, but this brave band of twenty-six women worked 
and created sentiment until they were one hundred and thirty strong, 
and now rejoice to know that liquor has been voted out of their city. 

Calexico W. C. T. U. is located on the Mexican border, and has 
strong, staunch workers who are doing a grand work. This local was 


organized in 1906, and has flourished and won every battle toward 
keeping Calexico dry. Soldiers' and sailors' work is going forward, 
they furnishing their own material for hospital supplies. The depart- 
ment is well carried out. The ambulance drive was more than a success. 

El Centro W. C. T. U. was organized in El Centro in November, 
1907, by Mae Tongier, with Mrs. Tuttle as the first president. This 
local was the first organization of any kind in the place. 

Alamo W. C. T. U. was organized by Miss Margaret Wiley in 
1907, with nine charter members, at the Eastside school house, Mrs. 
Linnie Strain being the first president. The interest created was due to 
Mrs. Martha Hoyt's influence. This little band did a grand work car- 
rying on the departments of the county. Medal contests was a special 
work. Finally the members moved to Holtville and united with the 
local W. C. T. U. there. 

Silsbee Union was organized by Mrs. Mae Tongier with a member- 
ship of sixteen charter members, and became a part of Imperial County 
Union when it was organized in 1907. Mrs. Fannie Harding was the 
first president. Being a country union, the principal work was encour- 
aging sentiment for bone-dry prohibition, and educating young people 
to take a firm stand for that that is best in life. Two other unions, Mc- 
Cabe and Seeley, were organized, drawing on Silsbee for membership. 
Then various causes drew away so many members that the interest 
waned until the ambitious little union lost courage and disbanded in 
1916, trusting that the influence of this work may not altogether be lost. 

Heber W. C. T. U. was organized December 15, 1913, by Mrs. Mary 
Coman, editor of the State W. C. T. U. paper, with sixteen members in 
roll, Mrs. Angeline Courtney being the first president. This small band 
has been faithful, carrying on the department work suited to their lo- 
cality, beside meeting all county demands, and doing much effective 
campaign work for the California drive. 

Holtville W. C. T. U. was organized in 1909 by C. Angie Miller, 
county president, Mrs. Martha Hoyt being the first president. The 
scripture lesson was read from the Bible by an old crusader, Mr. Walter 
Chaney's mother. The second year the membership was double ; it 
readily grew until it was at one time the largest in the county. This 
strong union was a power in Imperial County and always ready to lead ; 
in essay work this union took the first prize in the county. Later Mary 


Thompson received a state prize of twenty dollars for the best essay 
in the state written by the high school students. 

Seeley W. C. T. U. was organized March 3, 1914, with ten live, ac- 
tive charter members. Mrs. Minnie Hull was the first president and 
served four consecutive years. An active Loyal Temperance Legion, an 
organization for the children, at one time was their ideal. Much live 
work has been done and now in war times they are doing soldiers' and 
sailors' work, liberally furnishing their own material. 

McCabe W. C. T. U. was organized at the McCabe school house by 
Mrs. Eva C. Wheeler, with Mrs. Thayer as the first president. 

Calipatria W. C. T. U. was'added to the list in 1918, being organized 
by Hester Griffith, state vice-president, and Miss Florence Yarnell, 
county president. 

During the two years 1915-1917 the special object sought by the 
county president was better legislation. The legislators were showered 
with letters, cards and telegrams. Much that was encouraging was 
gained ; an effort was made to prohibit liquor near irrigation near 
Mexican soil, as this is a source of existence in Imperial Valley. Thus, 
while we may be deemed small among the force of righteousness, the 
moral uplift of Imperial County would certainly have been much less 
had the W. C. T. U. had no participation in it. An ambulance to our 
soldier boys even nationally is not regarded as such a small thing, and 
especially by our boys themselves, when exposed to the terrors of war. 
Whatever has been sent to the front has been clean and pure. There 
are no reports of death from the surgeon general caused by anything 
being sent by the W. C. T. U. Their influence is certainly not without 
its weight on the rising generation. Many of our children will yet rise 
and thank their Maker — "My mother was a member of the Imperial 
County W. C. T. U. and gave me my first lessons on sobriety and tem- 
perance and saved me from the blighting effects of alcoholic com- 
pounds. While her noontide prayer often presented me to the throne of 
Heavenly Grace." It is thus this moral uplift must go on, and on, until 
not only our county and state is redeemed from this Dark Damnation 
Drink, but our nation and the world is free from its blighting influence, 
and we all join the angelic song and sing, the kingdom of this world 
has become the "kingdom of our God and His Christ; and He shall 
reign for ever and ever." 



To those who know, the city of Imperial always must remain in mind 
as a landmark in important history. I see the town in fancy now as it 
was in 1901, crudely constructed of canvas or rough lumber by amateur 
workmen, and possessing no touch of art or grace, its three frame 
buildings, two score of tents and a half dozen ramadas.or walled struc- 
tures, surmounted by thatch of arrow-weed. 

Such was the town which first appeared in the heart of the Colorado 
Desert, when not another habitation existed within sixty miles. Lone- 
some? Forlorn? Forbidding? Yes, all of these, but if anyone fancies the 
"natives," as the new-come pioneers called themselves, played soccer 
ball with chunks of grief, he is mistaken, for never then was there a 
grievance but became a joke, and the stifled sob developed into laughter. 

No green thing but the tawny scant vegetation of the desert was to be 
found for many miles, and only the stub-tail end of the "town ditch," 
down which twice a week water was turned from the new main canal 
a dozen miles away, gave sign of connection with the outer world. 

Roads there were none, and individual wagon tracks, numerous and de- 
vious in direction, formed a bewildering puzzle to one who sought them 
as a guide. 

Far away in every direction the mystic aridity stretched like one 
scene from the inferno that Dante had overlooked. 

Yet there were compensations. The air was free and boundless. The 
skies revealed a transparency and a depth of glorious blue which seemed 
to reveal all eternity, and more stars shone upon those brave pioneers 
than were ever seen before by human eye. 

The sunrises and sunsets of that dry desert air gave tones of graded 
coloring that were not all subdued, for from the ashen and chocolate 
mountains and the yellow haze the color scheme ascended through 


blues and pinks and greens to royal purple, fringed with gold and 

And the mirage was there, was there in all possible sublimity, always 
lending its charm and mysticism, contorting the mountains into gro- 
tesque forms and transforming distant tents into sails of vessels mov- 
ing placidly over peaceful waters. So regularly did several fea- 
tures of the mirage appear from sunrise to sunset that the versed 
"native" could almost utilize them in lieu of a sun dial. Of these the two 
most conspicuous forms were known as "The Battle-Ship" and "The 
Golden Gate." 

The former was the false refraction of light that at 10 each morning 
lifted the Black Buttes, in Mexico, above the horizon, presenting a ves- 
sel upon the water with turrets and masts, and a preposterously long 
gun reaching out above the prow. 

"Golden Gate" was the expanse of mirage that spread its waters be- 
tween the Cucupa and Santa Catarina mountains, with Signal Moun- 
tain rising as Alcatraz Island, and when this scene was caught with 
tents to give the sail effect the presentment of Golden Gate was com- 
plete and realistic. 

Stretching out from the town in all directions, tents were beginning 
to appear as "claims" were filed upon, and as desolate looking as the 
town was in some of its aspects, I know for a fact that its small group 
of lights twinkling in the clear night air across the barren expanse was 
to more than one pioneer as a star of hope and of destiny. 

Reference is made above to the three frame buildings, the only ones 
within many miles. Of these one was a church, another a store and the 
third a printing office, the latter now the sole remaining remnant of the 
earliest days. 

Life was so primitive that when the first rocking chair appeared in 
the town it was a matter of remark, and many sought to share its com- 

Who were these pioneers who dared the desert in its crudity? They 
were, almost without exception, of that race which has staked the 
American frontier from the days when the first settlers moved out into 
the Connecticut and Mohawk valleys. These individuals had tarried in 
Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arizona and California. There were not 
many of the cowboy type, whom Frederick Remington called "Men 


with the bark on." Many more of them were persons of culture despite 
their love of the boundless out-of-doors. 

"Is there no place I can sleep tonight?" asked a tenderfoot on learn- 
ing that the tent-house hotel was filled. 

"Why, yes," said a "native," "here are five million acres," and to him 
to sleep in the open was nothing out of the routine of life. 

But some of the scenes were pathetic, for most of those who came to 
the land of promise had been accustomed to some of the comforts and 
conveniences of life, and with the few women who came to help hew a 
piece of destiny out of the raw material one sometimes caught a glimpse 
of a tear on a face set with fortitude. 

Then there were the covered wagon, the small equipment of farm 
implements, and usually a larger equipment of children. The tired horses 
had been driven from Arizona or Oklahoma or Missouri, or from the 
coast section of California, and the whole aggregation of brute and 
human and inanimate objects was disconsolate looking enough. 

Heavy freight teams, many with from a dozen to a score of mules, 
came dragging into town from the main line of the railroad, thirty-five 
miles away, after two days on the road, for that was the base of supply 
for all essentials of life in those days before production. 

Three times a week the stage crept in, the dusty passengers crawled 
out, gazed about and said, "Well, is this it?" It required one with poetic 
inspiration to see the vision of the future and to "give to airy nothings 
a local habitation and a name," and not all men are poets. But as poetry 
is not words but vision, more are poets than is generally thought, and 
they remained, and the next week they too were "natives." 

And speaking of airy things recalls the wind. Men of scientific mind 
years before had urged the turning of the Colorado River into the 
Salton Sink, that the evaporation there might nullify the vacuum condi- 
tion of the desert, which was credited with causing the north winds of 
the coast. The irrigation of the Valley has wrought that change. The 
winds here, as we knew them then, have become a thing of the past. 
But in those primal days, at least two days in every week, all the demon 
winds of the earth held their assemblies here, and vied with each other 
in bringing abject terror to many and dismay to all. Day and night they 
went howling past with an exhibit of force that it seemed nothing could 


withstand, and the parched, cut-up desert simply lifted in sheets through 
which sight could not penetrate a dozen feet. With all objects blotted 
from vision, even the horses one drove, the traveler had no guide but 
the direction of the wind. 

And winter passed and summer came, blistering heat bent down re- 
morselessly. There were no electric lights or fans. There was no ice. 
Nothing that was perishable could be brought in. There was no milk, 
no eggs, no butter, no fresh fruit or vegetables or meat. You could take 
your choice between ditch water in which the animalcula were abun- 
dant, canned goods that frequently went off like guns in the stores as 
they exploded with heat, and bacon and flapjacks. 

The heat of that summer was something to read about rather than 
experience, and the writer may now as well publicly confess that when 
the thermometer reached 126 one day and threatened to break the 
world record of 127, he found the coolest place obtainable for the in- 
strument for the remainder of the day. 

The evaporation of something like a hundred billion cubic feet of 
water a year has brought about a reduction in maximum temperature 
of about fifteen degrees, and a raise of minimum winter temperature 
of practically as much, besides dispensing with the winds. 

By slow stages the country about became inhabited and the town re- 
sponded. Some person drove a buggy into town and that caused as 
much comment as the later arrival of the first automobile. 

Finally a brick-yard appeared, ushering in a new era for the Valley, 
with more secure construction and more pleasing aspect. 

Early in the history of the town there came a business block with 
arcade— the second story projecting over the sidewalk — and there was 
set the type of structure which henceforth was to prevail in all the 
business sections of Valley towns. 

Here, too, there was first manifest the one great extravagance of the 
Valley, schools of most superior character compared with other im- 
provements. The grammar school, first to appear, was a neat brick 
structure, and not long afterwards there was built the first high school 
building, at a cost of $65,000, the edifice being of a character which 
would have been creditable in a century-old town of 10,000 persons. 

The railroad branch coming down from the main line through the 
Valley, and for a time having a terminus here, brought a great change 


into the lives of the people and marked the end of the real pioneer life 
of the people, for an ice factory, electric plant and other modern insti- 
tutions were growing up. 

Pavements in time hid the dust of the main thoroughfares, and Im- 
perial, changed in outward form and much in the spirit of the people, 
had become a modern municipality. 

< o 



Long before the present generation was born it was ordained that 
Calexico should exist, and that Calexico should become the capital of 
a great inland empire. The plans that fate laid are being fulfilled, and 
the hopes of those who have watched the city's growth with pride and 
joy are being fulfilled in a measure beyond their most sanguine expec- 

Climate, soil, abundance of life-giving water, sunshine every day in 
the year, accessibility to markets and geographical location, all com- 
bine to encourage and promote the agricultural, horticultural and stock- 
raising industries that are growing steadily year by year, enriching 
thousands of enterprising men who have been attracted to the section 
of country immediately surrounding Calexico, drawn by the exception- 
al opportunities offered as an inducement to greatest effort. Gradually 
the desert has been reclaimed; year by year canals and laterals have 
crept across its face, and carried water to the arid acres that ceased to 
be arid, and began producing crops of cotton, corn, alfalfa, small grains 
of all kinds, vegetables, melons and fruit, with an abundance of forage 
crops for the herds and flocks that have become famous for their size 
and high grade. The great ranches and plantations that came with the 
first efforts at settling and reclaiming the land have been divided and 
sub-divided, each partition bringing more settlers, more workers and 
more citizens to a happy and prosperous Valley. Settlements grew to 
towns, and towns to cities, Calexico, the metropolis by right of birth, 
grew more rapidly than the rest, and now is entering upon a new and 
its most remarkable period of development. At the beginning of the 
year 1918 a carefully prepared census showed the population to be a 
little in excess of 4000. 

Calexico originated in 1901, when the California Development Com- 
pany established engineering headquarters near the international boun- 



dary line between California and the Mexican state of Baja California, 
or Lower California. This was on the east bank of New River. The 
offices of the company consolidated with settlers in forming the little 
settlement just north of the line in California. In 1903 the townsite was 
plotted and laid out in lots. The rich, productive soil around the town 
was the first in the Imperial Valley to be irrigated and improved, and 
the results proved the belief of the pioneers that only the well directed 
efforts of man were needed to bring wealth and prosperity. The country 
immediately tributary includes the productive section on the west 
known as District No. 6, containing many of the largest and most pro- 
ductive ranches in the Valley ; District No. 7, adjoining the town on the 
east, and on the south thousands upon thousands of acres of the richest 
land in Baja California, which are leased from their Mexican owners 
and devoted largely to the production of cotton and live-stock. 

Incorporated as a city of the sixth class in April, 1908, Calexico has 
advanced steadily towards metropolitanism, and today it presents a 
pleasing and often surprising appearance to those who visit it for the 
first time. Money raised by the issuance of bonds, beginning with an 
issue of $20,000 in 1909, has been wisely expended in paving the 
streets, building wide, substantial concrete walks, providing a water 
system that is not excelled in the West, and a sewer system adequate for 
a city of many times its present size. In the heart of the city a tract of 
land was reserved for a park and civic center. This is being improved 
and will in time be one of the most beautiful recreation grounds to be 
found in the State. The Calexico Union High School, a magnificent 
building with numerous smaller buildings grouped about it, and the 
Carnegie Library, are located in this center, and in time it will contain 
the city hall, fire station and other municipal buildings, and doubtless 
the federal offices that will be required to take care of the growing 
business incidental to an important port of entry and border city. For 
two years the imports through the port of Calexico have exceeded those 
of Los Angeles, San Diego and Tia Juana combined. 

Since it was discovered a few years ago that the Imperial Valley was 
adapted to the growth of cotton, this crop has been the leading one in 
both that portion of the Valley lying north of the boundary line, and on 
the Mexican lands leased and cultivated by Americans. The first crop 
of the Valley was sold to one big cotton mill for $25,000. That was 



about seven years ago ; conservative estimates place the value of the 
1918 crop of cotton in the Imperial Valley at $13,000,000. The produc- 
tion this year will not be far short of 65,000 bales. The quality of the 
cotton is unsurpassed, and buyers from all over the world are in com- 
petition for the Imperial Valley product. The gins of Calexico and her 
twin city, Mexicali, and the cotton compress located in the former, pro- 
vide employment for many skilled laborers. 

Among some of the other agricultural products are milo maize, broom 
corn, rye, barley, alfalfa, rice and hemp. Sudan grass is gaining in 
popularity as a forage crop. 

The cantaloupe industry is one of greatest importance to Calexico. 
For about six weeks in the summer the cantaloupe sheds are the busiest 
section of the city. Last year more than 4000 cars of the finest melons 
produced in the United States were forwarded to the Eastern and coast 
markets, the earliest shipments reaching New York, Boston and Wash- 
ington nearly two weeks in advance of those of any other section of 
the country. The lettuce grown on the ranches around Calexico, shipped 
in iced cars by express, is also the first grown out of doors to reach the 
tables of the Easterners, and is not surpassed in quality and appearance. 

Calexico's claims to being the metropolis of the wonderful new in- 
land empire are based on the fact that the city is located in the heart of 
a district that is the greatest in America in the following respects: It 
has the largest cantaloupe acreage, largest honey production, largest 
ostrich farm, largest alfalfa acreage, largest irrigated cotton acreage, 
largest unit irrigation project, largest pumice mine, greatest turkey pro- 
duction, largest farm production per acre, and largest average cotton 



The history of Brawley, the most productive area and largest produce 
shipping point in the State, extends down through a period of eighteen 
years, in which its transition from a barren desert to a zone of almost 
marvelous fertility, has been accomplished without hindrance through 
crop failure, pestilence or other disaster. 

From a single brush wickiup in 1901 has grown the prosperous and 
well built city of 5000 inhabitants, enjoying the benefits of every essen- 
tial modern public utility, and prosperous beyond the dreams of its 
most hopeful projectors. 

Brawley today is the center of the greatest proven producing area 
in the United States — a claim sustained by its annual record of produce 
shipments, and its accredited rank as the second shipping point in the 
State of California. The almost marvelous fertility of its soil is equaled 
by the diversity of crops which mature perfectly and yield abundantly 
in response to practical farming processes. Nature withholds no good 
thing from the practical farmer, and two or even three crops will ma- 
ture within a single unbroken year of 365 days in which the Brawley 
farmer may continue his farming operations. 

Fruits, citrus and deciduous, dates, olives, grapes, melons, cotton, 
corn and all cereals, alfalfa and all vegetables yield in the most lavish 
abundance, and are first of spring products on the Eastern market. 

Brawley lettuce, spinach, peas, cantaloupes, watermelons, tomatoes 
and grapes are first to mature and command highest price in the East- 
ern markets. The grower in this section takes no hazard on a harvest. 
Crop failures and parasites that destroy or minimize crop returns are un- 
known here, and the calendar year is one continuous round of seed time 
and harvest. In no section of the State does Nature respond more liber- 
ally to the touch of toil with a greater assurance of a harvest as a re- 
ward of properly directed energy. 

The abundance of all-the-year-around forage and favorable weather 



conditions make this an ideal section for stock growing and dairying, 
particularly the latter, in which the Brawley district surpasses any other 
section of the Valley and the State of California. The Valley supplies 
Los Angeles with 20,000 pounds of butter daily, and if required could 
grow all of the live-stock necessary to sustain the southern half of the 
State. The profits of stock growing is enormous and that of dairying 
scarcely less. Of the total area of 320,000 acres of irrigated land in the 
Imperial Valley 100,000 is in alfalfa, 125,000 in milo maize and 50,000 
in barley. The cotton acreage will not exceed 90,000. 

Brawley is the shipping center of a producing area of 160,000 acres 
of the most productive land in the Imperial Valley, and aside from cot- 
ton is the producing center of the Valley. 

In the volume of its vegetable products Brawley surpasses by far any 
other section of the Valley. Of the 4400 cars of cantaloupes shipped out 
last season almost 3000 were from Brawley district, and 2501 from 
Brawley station direct. The shipments of lettuce from the Valley this 
season aggregated about 385 cars, of which Brawley shipped 279 cars. 

Little cause can be found for criticism of a climate that invariably 
matures a crop, and in some instances two and even three crops, and in 
a single season without failure. There are but two seasons — winter and 
summer, and not much of either, the two merging closely into each 
other. The temperature seldom drops below 30 degrees, and while it 
soars to 112 at times during the summer, this temperature is attended 
by no humidity and is not hurtful, the heat being equal to about 90 de- 
grees in the east. The rainfall is less than two inches annually and 
could be spared altogether. 

The climate is especially beneficial to rheumatic and ashmatic pa- 
tients, in many cases effecting a radical cure of both within six months. 
No malarial or other antagonistic element has ever been recorded here. 
Children are rugged and healthy and the prevailing standard of public 
health is far above the average. 

Including a magnificent $70,000 high school building, a grammar 
school building recently erected at a cost of $35,000, a splendid manual 
training system, three lesser school buildings and a parochial school, 
with a large attendance and perfect equipment, no city in any State has 
better schools nor a more capable educational staff for every branch of 
modern education, from the kindergarten to the advanced system. 



This picturesque little city built from the cactus and mesquite and 
desert soil into one of the most beautiful of the lovely towns fringing 
the Western Valley of the Nile, is one of the most prosperous and at- 
tractive of Imperial Valley, and very properly entitled to its cognomen, 
"The Gem City." 

Holtville was given its charter in 1903, and since that time the 
growth has been steady, and the residents who have come to this es- 
pecially rich and fertile section of the great desert country are now 
more than reaping the results that always follow the arduous workings 
and efforts of the pioneer. Only fifteen years old, this beautiful town 
is forging ahead, and paved, well lighted streets will be the culmination 
of the Commercial Club's dream and efforts in the very near future. It 
is generally conceded that Holtville is the prettiest town of the many 
that have made the great Imperial Valley famous throughout the United 
States and the world. This great beauty is due to the many trees that 
border the streets, giant palms, peppers and cottonwood trees making 
most grateful shade and relief from the glare of the summer sun. 

Situated at the eastern boundary of the Valley, with a population 
now reaching considerably over the fifteen hundred mark, Holtville is 
now among the foremost dairying sections in the world. Alfalfa 
ranches are everywhere testifying to the great fertility and productive- 
ness of the hundred thousand acres or more, which are tributary to the 
town. Not only have cattle and dairying industries formed an impor- 
tant factor in the growth of this particular locality and the calling in 
of many of the most expert ranchers of the east and middle west, but 
hog raising, which is one of the most profitable industries in the world 
today, and at this writing one of the most timely, has reached the pin- 
nacle of its development here. And in this connection it is only fitting 
that mention should be made of the wonderful work that is being ac- 



complished by the pupils of the high school and the grammar schools 
of Holtville under the careful guidance of their teachers in the building 
up of Pig Clubs. These clubs have stimulated lavishly the interest in 
raising of pigs and hogs by the sons and daughters of the ranchers, 
and some exceptional results have been obtained by these embryo 
farmers and farm-women. 

In the cattle raising industry, one of the great commercial features 
that has placed this city in the front ranks is the production of butter. 
A large percentage of the most successful farmers of this section can 
trace their rise to the first string of cows with which they started out 
in the dairying business. The wonderful creamery which was estab- 
lished in Holtville a few years ago, and which has been added to and 
improved as conditions warranted, is pointed to with pride by every 
person showing the prospective resident about the country. Hundreds of 
thousands of pounds of butter are shipped monthly from this district, 
and the average daily output of butter alone from the Holtville Co-op- 
erative Creamery is over three thousand pounds. Scientific cattle rais- 
ing, which implies the raising of the best stocks, and the culling of all 
unprofitable "boarders from among the strings," has resulted in dairy- 
ing and cattle raising reaching a marvelous point of success here. 

The agricultural survey is developed to a point quite as successful 
as are the other branches of the farming industry in the Imperial Val- 
ley. Wonderful crops of asparagus, okra, lettuce, spinach, and all sorts 
of garden truck are grown here, and one of the local men claims to 
have made a thousand dollars an acre from the growing of cucumbers 
sent out to meet the demand of an early and epicurean eastern market. 
These cucumbers are also sent to the northern part of the state, and 
tomatoes are another delicacy that delights the palate of the epicurean 
sent out from this vicinity as early as the first of February. 

At the present time Holtville is experiencing an unusual boom, ow- 
ing, probably, to the likelihood of the opening at a near distant date of 
the wonder lands on the east side mesa, which are regarded as the most 
favored, naturally, of any lands in the whole Imperial Valley. The open- 
ing of this vast and fertile section will mean the ingress of hundreds 
of wide-awake, progressive ranchers from all parts of the United 
States, and will result in a phenomenal growth of the city itself, which 
is the logical shopping district for the entire east side. The growing of 


cotton has been marvelously successful during the past three years. It 
is now past the experimental stage entirely, and great profits have been 
attained by those who have taken a chance on this industry. There arc 
several cotton gins here, and the building of a co-operative gin this 
year is one of the projects that is already financed by some of the most 
substantial farmers here. The wonderful fertility of the soil permits of 
crops more varied than in any other section of the world, and among 
the other profitable crops grown must be placed the different grains, 
and corn. Great cjuantities of corn are raised here, and are always sure 
of a ready market, on account of the hog industry particularly. The 
day of the large land holder has steadily been on the wane, and today 
Holtville owes much of the steady growth of its prosperity to the fact 
that land holders are now possessors usually of less than two hundred 
acres at the most, which results in better business for the town's trades- 
people, and in better results to the rancher who is no longer burdened 
with more land than he can successfully cultivate. 

Holtville itself is one of the most progressive cities to be found in 
an agricultural district anywhere. The churches and the schools are 
a credit to her enterprise. The schools are looked upon with amaze- 
ment by the newcomers and visitors, who express surprise that schools 
are established here that rank favorably with schools anywhere else in 
the state, under the most capable supervision and instruction, and that 
they are accredited to all of the universities. Holtville is likely prouder 
of its school system which is regarded as one of the most perfeect in 
the southern part of the state than of any other feature of its civic life. 

Of the churches it may be said that there are six, of as many denom- 
inations, all seemingly prosperous and flourishing. 

There are a number of clubs and fraternal organizations in the city 
and a woman's club, which is distinguished for its public-spiritedness 
and its interest in every project of civic betterment. A woman's club 
house will likely be considered before a great while, and when com- 
pleted will fill an important need. 

The City Hall is an institution of which Holtville is inordinately 
proud. It stands on record as being the only building of its kind erected 
solely by public subscription in the United States. It is a handsome 
structure of mission style, and reflects the greatest possible credit on 
the liberality of the citizens who made such & building possible. In this 



work the woman's club took a prominent part in the securing of funds 
and much of the credit for the work belongs to their enterprise and 

The latest step along the lines of progress has been the voting of 
bonds for sewer outputs and paving. The latter means one of the most 
necessary and important movements that the citizens have ever taken 
up ; it will result in increased prosperity and immeasurable satisfaction. 

There are two flourishing banks in Holtville — the First National and 
the Holtville Bank, of which the latter is the newer, and which is gain- 
ing steadily in public favor. 

The shopping district of Holtville, while small, is comprehensive, 
and the new resident on nearby ranches and farms finds himself un- 
usually favored in the matter of purchasing supplies and equipment of 
all kinds. Within the last year a decided impetus has been given shop- 
ping of all kinds, and among the most important enterprises in the 
town are its hardware stores where farm equipment and specialties of 
all kinds may be procured as easily and satisfactorily as in metropoli- 
tan cities. The housewife finds all her needs to have been anticipated 
at the stores which are exceptional and which are constantly improv- 
ing and going ahead. 

An artesian water belt running through the eastern part of the Val- 
ley makes it possible for farmers to sink wells and find plenty of good 
water for drinking and household purposes at a depth of only a few 
hundred feet, which is likely to vary in different localities. This is the 
only belt of artesian water in the whole Valley, and is an added point 
in which Nature has smiled upon this particular section of the country. 
In this connection one thinks of the Natatorium, which is the only thing 
of the kind in the whole Valley, and the place where hundreds of bath- 
ers gather all during the summer from points all over the Valley for 
cooling dips and frolics in the cooling waters. Last year the Natatorium 
had the most successful run in its history, and this year will likely 
double its popularity, as it is to be again under the same management. 

In many respects Holtville is in a class entirely by itself. It is slightly 
below sea level, but when sleeping in a second story chamber one rests 
entirely above sea level. The city is particularly and peculiarly health- 
ful, and but very little illness is ever manifested here. In fact much of 
its population can be directly traced to the reputation it bears for 


health fulness which is a fine thing for the town, but a poor field for 
members of the medical fraternity. 

When the great southern National Highway is completed Holtville 
will be the first point of entry to the tourists and homeseekers who will 
be lured hither. Combine this project with the opening of the great 
east side mesa, and it would appear to the most skeptical that Holt- 
ville's future was doubly assured. Its progressiveness has only started. 
Beautified with thousands and thousands of trees that make for com- 
fort and coolness, with an incomparable reputation for healthfulness, 
with exceptional school facilities, with crop prospects that cannot be 
discounted in any corner of the globe, with shipping facilities, and 
commercial equipments of the best, the "Gem" city bids fair to become 
in a few short years the most important, as well as the most prosperous 
of all the towns in the Valley. 

As is true of every town of the Valley, society has not developed 
to any appreciable degree of exclusion. As in all new countries, per- 
sons are accepted for their character, and not for their other attain- 
ments. Ability to pioneer marks the stepping stone of those who occupy 
prominent places in the happy social atmosphere of a community that 
is not circumscribed and hedged with social conventions that must of 
necessity exist in larger and older localities. 

Summed up, we find that Holtville's claim to popularity and distinc- 
tion is gained from the enterprise of its farmers and ranchers, from its 
schools, from the great fertility of the soil of the surrounding thou- 
sands and thousands of acres, from which crops may be derived more 
easily than from any other land in the world. It is derived from a 
spirit of co-operation among its citizens and townspeople that is not 
only commendable but tremendously unusual. Its activities are as varied 
as could be in any community with its creameries, cotton gins, its cattle 
and hog shipping, and its marvelous crops. Besides the municipal attain- 
ments that have been accomplished from time to time, with a reputa- 
tion for health that is unparalleled, Holtville must, by virtue of its re- 
markable natural possessions, be destined to become one of the largest 
and most prosperous cities of the great Imperial Valley. Its citizens 
alive to the future and the possibilities that future will offer are work- 
ing in a harmony of purpose and largeness of motive that presages a 
wonderful prosperity for Holtville in the future as in the past. 



One can understand how the few cities of the ancient world attained 
individualism that marked them for all time, and he can understand 
how a few modern cities simply by the exhibit of bulk can be conspicu- 
ous in world affairs. But can a little city of modern days attain an in- 
dividualism without eccentricity? 

There is reason to believe that this is being done by El Centro, and 
that almost without conscious endeavor by the populace. It is the cap- 
ital, political and commercial, of the first country that has developed 
during the automobile age, and it is not strange that this modern vehi- 
cle, which has made the farmer a score of miles away a near neighbor, 
is working out here something different from that wrought elsewhere 
during the slow days of the lumber wagon and spring buggy. 

As this is written there are ten towns in Imperial Valley, and before 
this book shall have ceased to be a work of reference in libraries the 
number may be expected to increase a hundred fold. These towns now 
and the invisible cities of the future like them circle about El Centro, 
all within an hour's drive by automobile, and we cannot doubt that 
what has proved universal elsewhere on earth will prove inevitable here, 
and that as time goes on that which is the metropolis now will become 
more metropolitan, and this without detracting from the fine attain- 
ments of the other towns of the Valley. 

El Centro was not one of the original towns of the Valley. It sprang 
up later and avoided some of the mistakes that had been made else- 
where. The towns of the earlier pioneer days had started with the flim- 
sy architecture adapted to the needs of the time, and while they were 
able to get away from that in time, El Centro from the first had the ad- 
vantage of being cleanly built to meet the later requirements. 

W. T. Bill as head of the El Centro Townsite Company filed the plat 
of the town in 1905. He was closely affiliated with W. F. Holt, who al- 


ready was taking his position as the chief promoter of public utility 
corporations of this section. Through the initiative of the latter, the 
Holton Interurban Railroad was built from El Centro to Holtville, 
electric power and ice plants were installed, followed later by a gas 
plant, these institutions severally serving all or a good portion of the 
Valley from this town, and still later the interurban road was extended 
westwardly to become a part of the San Diego and Arizona Railroad. 

Mr. Holt also became the promoter of the first bank, and he and 
others began the erection of business buildings of a superior type for a 
town of tender years. 

Imperial, in some of its better buildings, had set the pattern of ar- 
cades, and this type of structure, so splendidly adapted to a hot climate, 
became the universal type here and was passed on to the other towns of 
the Valley. 

Full blocks of the arcade buildings, so much more sightly than the ir- 
regular and ragged looking awnings of other towns, makes a fine im- 
pression on the stranger, and gives a ship-shapeness to the general ap- 
pearance that has set a standard for other affairs of the community. 

In the course of time there came the period of street paving, during 
which all the business streets and the main avenues leading to the boun- 
daries of the city were rendered among the finest roadways to be found, 
and dust and mud ceased to be elements to contend with. 

The primitive sewer system of the earliest days gave way in 1916 to 
an outfall sewer built in co-operation with Imperial, which extends 
through the latter town and thence to the northwest, where it empties 
into New River. 

Only second in importance from the standpoint of sanitation is the 
filtration plant under construction at this time (spring of 1918), for 
the purification of water used for all purposes. 

From the first, El Centro has taken a high position in the institutions 
that promote civilization. Its schools, churches and press have been of 
high standard, and they have had difficult work to accomplish because 
of the complexities of habits and ideals of its extremely cosmopolitan 
population. Natives of the northern and southern States are pretty 
evenly balanced, and these may be said to be the basic strata of the 
population. Overlying these, as next in period of arrival, is an extensive 
Swiss population, the individuals having been drawn from their native 


land by the great opportunities discovered in the dairy industry. They 
are a frugal, industrious people and are meeting with a high degree of 

The next class to come in considerable numbers were colored people 
from the cotton States of the South. Among the colored people are a 
number of considerable intellectual attainment, and then there are some 
others. Schools and churches are affording the people of this race an 
opportunity and encouragement to attain higher development, and in 
this the general white sentiment is sympathetic and desirous of being 

El Centro has not acquired a large Japanese population, many more 
East Indians, Mohammedans and Hindus being seen on the streets. 
These people are not residents of the town, however, being wholly rural 
in their habits. 

In manufacturing lines there are the power interests, the extensive 
ice plant, the largest and most modern creamery west of the Missouri 
River, several gins and a cottonseed oil mill, and a beginning is being 
made this year on a large project looking to the dehydrating and can- 
ning of fruits and vegetables. 

El Centro is distinctively a commercial and residence town. Its hotel 
accommodations far outrank the typical small city. The homes of the 
people are modern bungalows, a few with considerable indication of 
wealth and refinement. Numerous extensive farmers, having property 
at distant points in the Valley, have chosen this as their home. The stores 
of the town carry extensive stocks, and during trading hours the streets 
are lined with rows of automobiles that at times are so numerous as to 
render traffic difficult, these machines having brought customers from 
all parts of the Valley. 

El Centro is a city with an eye distinctively to the future and with 
faith in the future. Its present 7500 population look confidently to a 
rapid multiplication of their numbers through the expansion of indus- 
tries and the broadening of genuine opportunities. 


In connection with his other interests in the Valley, Mr. W. F. Holt 
organized the Holton Power Company for the purpose of serving the 
cities and towns of the Valley with electrical energy and ice. The com- 


pany was incorporated September 16, 1903, under the laws of Califor- 
nia, for a period of fifty years. The principal place of business of the 
company from the date of its incorporation until May, 1916, was at 
Redlands, California. 

The original capitalization was $500,000.00 stock in shares of $100.00 
each. The capital stock was increased on June 15, 1905, to $1,000,000- 
.00 to provide additional capital for improvements and extensions, and 
on July 18, 191 1, to care for the further expansion of the business, was 
again increased to $1,500,000.00. At present there is issued and out- 
standing a total of $1,250,000.00. The company also has, issued and out- 
standing, a total of $937,000.00 in bonds. Owing to the wide extent of 
territory served and the sparse population as compared to older and 
more thickly settled sections, the company, during the development pe- 
riod of the Valley, has been under the necessity of making very heavy 
investments of capital, an adequate return on which is assured only 
after a long period of time, when the Valley becomes more fully de- 

The company serves the cities and towns of El Centro, Imperial, 
Brawley, Calexico, Calipatria and Holtville, as well as contiguous and 
intermediate territory. The company serves at present approximately 
3500 customers ; it maintains a central office at El Centro in charge of a 
district manager. 

The Holton Power Company owns and operates two hydro-electric 
power plants at Holtville, with a capacity of 1500 kilowatts, a steam 
generating plant at El Centro with a capacity of 250 kilowatts, and a 
gas electric generating plant (also located at El Centro) with a capa- 
city of 750 kilowatts. The company has a total mileage of transmission 
and distribution lines in the Imperial Valley of 165 miles. 

In the early part of 1916, owing to the necessity of providing in- 
creased generating capacity for the more adequate service of the public, 
Mr. Holt disposed of his interests in the company to the same interests 
controlling The Southern Sierras Power Company and other large hy- 
dro generating companies operating in the central part of the State, 
physical connection with the Southern Sierras system having been es- 
tablished by the construction of a transmission line from San Bernar- 
dino to El Centro in 1914. Upon the change in ownership the general 
offices were removed from Redlands to Riverside. 


The present officers of the company are as follows : President and 
general manager, A. B. West ; vice-president, W. F. Holt ; treasurer, A. 
S. Cooper ; secretary, W. G. Driver. 


In 1914, owing to the increased demand for electricity in the Imperial 
Valley, it became imperative for the Holton Power Company either to 
increase its generating capacity, by the construction of new generating 
plants in the Valley, or else connect with other companies who had a 
surplus of power to sell. The latter plan was decided to be most feasible 
and accordingly the Coachella Valley Ice and Electric Company was 
organized for the purpose of constructing and operating a transmission 
line extending from San Bernardino to El Centro, which served to in- 
ter-connect the system of The Southern Sierras Power Company with 
that of the Holton Power Company. The Coachella Company at present 
owns and operates about 150 miles of transmission line. 

The Coachella Valley Company, in addition to supplying current at 
wholesale to the Holton Power Company, also serves the public in the 
Coachella Valley, and furnishes electricity for the operation of the silt 
dredges of the Imperial Irrigation District at Hanlon's Heading, on the 
Colorado River, about 2400 horse-power being supplied for this purpose 
at the Heading. 

The Coachella Valley Ice and Electric Company is incorporated un- 
der the laws of California, with an authorized capital stock of $300,000- 
.00, all of which is issued and outstanding. The company is controlled 
and managed by the same interests that own The Southern Sierras 
Power Company and Holton Power Company, its headquarters also 
being located at Riverside. 


Upon the acquirement of the Holton Power Company by the present 
management, it was deemed advisable to segregate the ice business from 
the electric operations in the Valley. Previous to that time the ice plants 
which served a large part (if not all) of the ice consumed in the Valley 
were owned and operated by the Holton Power Company. In June, 
1916, The Imperial Ice & Development Company was incorporated with 
a capitalization of $1,000,000.00, for the purpose of taking over the ice- 


manufacturing interests of the Holton Power Company and the Coach- 
ella Valley Ice and Electric Company, the latter company at that time 
owning and operating the ice plant located at Coachella. The Imperial 
Ice and Development Company not only enlarged the ice-manufacturing 
plant of the Holton Power Company, but the increased demand for ice 
(particularly for the refrigeration of produce shipments from the Val- 
ley) necessitated the construction of additional plants. One plant with 
a rated output capacity of 30 tons per day and a storage capacity of 
5000 tons was constructed at Brawley and completed January, 1917. 
The plant has an actual manufacturing capacity of about 40 tons per 

The company not only supplies the general public throughout the 
Valley with ice, but also is under contract to supply the Pacific Fruit 
Express with a large proportion of the ice required by that company for 
refrigeration of shipments from the Valley. The main office of The Im- 
perial Ice and Development Company is also located at Riverside and 
under the same management as the other companies. The company also 
operates the ice plant located at Coachella, with a daily capacity of 30 


It is the consensus of opinion of the people of El Centro that the El 
Centro Volunteer Fire Department is a live organization, a credit to the 
community and to itself. It has a membership limited to twenty-five 
members. The membership consists in the main part of business and 
professional men, the majority of whom have been members of this 
department for more than five years. 

The department has grown from one wherein the sole equipment was 
a little, old two-wheel cart to one which is now equipped with a com- 
bination automobile hose and chemical wagon and an auto pump and 
hose truck, together with a hook and ladder truck. The department is 
housed in spacious quarters and has elegant club rooms, the furnishings 
of which are among the finest in the entire state, the same being owned 
by the members of the department. 

The department has furnished its quota of men to the national army, 
together with hundreds of dollars in cash to the government patriotic 


associations, among which were liberal cash donations to the Red Cross 
and $700 for an ambulance. 

The citizens of El Centro at all times exercise the privilege of calling 
on the department to aid the community in those things which are for 
the betterment of all concerned, and the department always responds in 
a way that guarantees success. 

One of the most notable efforts of the fire department was when, on 
the last day of the second Liberty Loan drive, members of the depart- 
ment collected in the neighborhood of $150,000 from the city of El 

The department has a business organization in connection with its 
fire department organization. The fire alarms are sounded by whistle, 
the town being divided into districts. Officials of the city and people 
familiar with fire departments and organizations throughout the United 
States have been very liberal in their favorable comment as to the effi- 
ciency and equipment of this department. A spirit of co-operation ex- 
ists between this department and departments of other towns in the 
Valley, all of which departments are volunteer organizations, equipped 
with modern apparatus, and it can well be said that the entire member- 
ship of all the departments represents the best citizenship of the Valley. 




When the traveler starts out to visit the great Imperial Valley, enter- 
ing it from the west, his eyes rest first upon the fertile lands adjacent 
to Seeley, the western gateway into this wonderland. Seeley is favor- 
ably located on the California State Highway, which has been com- 
pleted from the San Diego County line to the county seat nine miles 
east, and also on the San Diego and Arizona Railway, which, in March, 
1918, lacked only about twelve miles of completion. It is the largest 
town on the west side, nearest the cooler mountain breezes and also to 
the San Diego harbor. 

Seeley is the center of a prosperous agricultural district, with numer- 
ous and diversified crops. Livestock, dairying, hog raising and poultry 
raising are important industries. Cotton is grown quite extensively. The 
two gins located here have handled about 2500 bales each year for the 
past two seasons, and a special gin is being erected to handle the Egyp- 
tian varieties, of which there will be around 700 acres, principally Pima, 
planted here in 1918. 

From a cluster of sand dunes in 1912 Seeley has made a steady 
growth, and now has a population of about 350 prosperous people, with 
schools, churches, an active farm center and social organizations. Prac- 
tically all trades are represented, including a bank, drug store, physi- 
cian, department store, grocery store, hardware store, hotel, garage, 
weekly newspaper, meat market, restaurant, billiard parlor, barber 
shops, blacksmith shops, postoffice, depot and express office. The town 
has electric service for light and power, telephone service, a city water 
system and all modern improvements, and a host of loyal citizens who 
are always ready to welcome new enterprises and good citizens. 



Before Imperial Valley was ever heard of as a settlement the South- 
ern Pacific Railroad was granted ever)- other section of land Iving be- 
tween parallel lines for twenty miles on each side of its right of wav, 
this grant being made by Congress to encourage the building of trans- 
continental railways in the days when there was no railroad across the 
continent. This concession included all of the district lying north of the 
third parallel in Imperial Valley. In order to settle up this country it 
was necessary to build the main canal, with its hundreds of miles of lat- 
erals, and as there was no way by which this could be done except by 
the sale of water stock, and as the owner of land could not be forced to 
purchase water stock unless he desired to use the water upon his land, 
the Southern Pacific not being willing to purchase the stock for these 
alternate sections, it was too heavy a burden upon the even numbered 
sections, they constituting only one-half of the acreage. This part of the 
\ alley consequently lay idle until four years ago. when an association 
purchased all of the lands of the Southern Pacific in the Valley and 
immediately advanced S300.000 in cash, which, with the addition of the 
stock sold for the even numbered sections, permitted them to form 
mutual Water Company Xo. 3 and build the necessary canals and later- 
als, which were started four years ago and are now a complete unit. 

Four years ago there was no land under cultivation in this district 
Today we have upwards of 70,000 acres under cultivation. The soils 
and climate of the Xorth End are very similar to those of other parts 
of the Valley, the Xorth End lands having possibly a little more slope 
towards the sea. on account of being in what is known as '"the neck of 
the Valley." 

Since that time, two thriving towns have been built, Calipatria. with 
over half a million dollars' worth of buildings, and Xiland. with many 
good, substantial buildings, and having at the present time under con- 


struction the finest bank building, and seven concrete stores, in the Val- 
ley. The Salton Sea, later named Imperial Lake, is in this district, our 
lands bordering the sea. This somewhat tempers the extreme heat in 
the summer and also the colder winds of the winter. 

As an illustration of the wonderful settlement of this North End, 
we have three large warehouses in Calipatria, the Balfour-Guthrie 
Company, the Globe Mills and Newmark's. These warehouses could 
hold but a portion of the barley crop harvested last spring, and the 
manager of the Globe Mills told me that they were now emptying 
their large warehouses here for the third time this season. 

We have every convenience of older communities, such as electric 
lights, electric power, telephone system, water systems and every kind 
of mercantile enterprise is represented by from one to three or four 
modern stores. We have two strong banks and at the present time 
plans have been approved and material is arriving for the construction 
of the largest and most complete railroad depot east of Pomona and 
west of Phoenix. The railroad companies never build anything on sen- 
timent. They would not build this kind of a depot if the business of 
the country did not justify it. 

Again, there is a vast acreage of splendid farming land southwest 
of here which is now tapped by a branch line from Calipatria to West- 
moreland, which will be later extended to a connection with the San 
Diego road. The rights of way have been secured and the work laid 
out to build another branch east and south some 23 miles, giving to 
that vast territory an outlet and bringing the business of both sections 
to Calipatria. 

As an indication of how the country has improved and the possibili- 
ties of improving this "Valley of the Nile", some of the wonderful 
crops grown here might be cited. For instance, we have records here 
of alfalfa yielding twelve tons to the acre. W. A. Kennedy, who took 
a piece of raw land three years ago, sowed it to alfalfa two years ago, 
and recently received $5000 in cash for a hundred days' pasturage on 
160 acres. There are thousands of acres of alfalfa-land here now rented 
from $20 to $25 per acre per year, and when we think that only three 
short years ago this was a desert, the mind can scarcely comprehend 
the possibilities for the future. 

Here we are successfully growing cotton, alfalfa, barley, Milo maize, 


potatoes, onions, cabbage, lettuce, cantaloupes, and all the vegetables 
grown in a semi-tropical country, and growing them very profitably. 
Men are even known to raise crops in one season that sold for more 
money than the land cost them. 

Calipatria is an unincorporated town, controlled by a business men's 
association, comprising forty-three active business men as members. 
We have three churches, a Catholic, a Congregational and a Seventh 
Day Adventist. We have a $35,000 schoolhouse and the trustees are 
now securing plans for an addition to it, as we have 193 scholars en- 
rolled and our buildings are not large enough to accommodate them. 
We are also at the present time putting out petitions for a union high 

The North End comprises a territory about eighteen by twenty miles, 
of which Calipatria and Niland are the two towns. Niland is located 
at the junction of the Imperial Valley branch and the main line of the 
Southern Pacific, and is destined to be a good town in the no distant 
future ; and Calipatria, situated in the center of this enormous agricul- 
tural district, is destined to be one of the largest towns in Imperial 
County within the next five years. 

Our water system of the district is probably one of the most perfect 
in the United States, as for every delivery-ditch, or lateral, there has 
been built a corresponding drainage ditch, which forever prevents this 
land from becoming water-logged, or raising the water level to a dan- 
ger point. 

If three short years of settlement have brought about all these things 
mentioned, what can we expect this to be in ten years from now? 
With more intense cultivation, with the large tracts being cut up into 
small acreage (140 ten-acre tracts have been sold around Calipatria) 
it will mean a population in ten years from now greater than the entire 
Imperial Valley at the present time. 

Land values have doubled and trebled in three years, some of the 
lands having sold as high as $300 an acre that three years ago could 
have been bought for from $75 to $100. 

Imperial County is blessed with one particular thing, and that is 
good health. There is only one practicing physician in the North End 
of the Valley, and if it were not for the visits of the stork he says that 
he would have to move out. We have no malaria, typhoid or malignant 



fevers, and while we do have the ordinary hot summers of the low 
elevations, yet having no humidity, it causes no bad effects, but on 
the contrary makes vegetation grow prolifically. 

We are feeding upwards of 15,000 head of cattle now in the North 
End of the Valley, about 12,000 head of sheep, 3000 head of goats and 
thousands of head of hogs. It is the paradise of the poultry raiser, on 
account of the dry climate and abundance of green feed the year 
around. Imperial County is one great big family, all working in har- 
mony for the whole Valley, and is destined to be the greatest agricul- 
tural community in the world; and while only an infant, it has already 
taken the lead in the state as the greatest producer of butter, hogs, cat- 
tle, turkeys, alfalfa, cotton and Milo maize, and this all in the short 
time of seventeen years. 



There is probably nothing quite so actively real to be found in Califor- 
nia today as the numerous little mounds on the verge of the Salton Sea, 
which are in a state of continual eruption. In reality, they are minia- 
ture volcanoes, which, like warts on a cucumber, prominently dot the 
earth's surface at the southern end of the lake. They vary in height, 
ranging from one to ten feet, and in formation may be likened to Vesu- 
vius itself — crater, escaping gases, steam and all. 

From the lip of the crater a brown sulphurous slime runs down the 
hot rugged sides, while within there is a steady rumbling, and at min- 
ute intervals a discharge of hot mud is shot from twenty-five to seventy- 
five feet into the air. The roar may be heard many miles. They are on 
what was a few months ago the bottom of the Salton Sea, and are 270 
feet below sea level. It is only with great difficulty that they can be 
approached, owing to the fact that the land has not yet dried sufficient 
for traffic. 

Although the historic mud-pots were perhaps discovered eons ago, 
it has been but recently that certain intrepid parties have had courage 
enough to venture to the brink of these fiery kettles of steaming clay 
for the purpose of photographing volcanoes, so to speak, in their na- 
tive haunts. 

There is probably nothing quite so actively real to be found in Cali- 
fornia today, or elsewhere in the United States, for that matter. The 
volcanoes were well known to the early residents of the Valley. With 
the pouring of the water of the Colorado River into the Salton Sink, 
these volcanoes were covered with water and finally subsided. During 
the last year their activity has been resumed and they have proven an 
extraordinary sight. 

Incidentally, they are going to saddle these obsteperous volcanoes 
and make them useful to man. By adopting the plan used at Laradello, 



Tuscany, by which live steam from subterranean depths is used to op- 
erate turbines and generate electricity, water may yet be conducted to 
additional hundreds of thousands of acres of land in the Imperial 

Experts show that, with the use of cheap and abundant electricity, 
water may be pumped to new high-line canals, far above the present 
system. It is entirely possible that, by use of powerful pumps and a 
comparatively short pipe-line, many square miles of land on both sides 
of Salton Sea may be irrigated. 

The feasibility of the plan of using steam compressed below the 
earth's surface has been demonstrated to be practical. In the Italian 
plant, operated with steam from a distance of five hundred feet below 
the surface in the geyser district, power is obtained to generate elec- 
tricity that moves the wheels of industry over a wide countryside. By 
sinking a casing in the heart of one of these volcanoes, to a depth of a 
few hundred feet, it will be entirely possible to uncover sufficient live 
steam at high pressure to operate a turbine of the same kind used in 
the big plant in Italy. 

The possibilities of such a plant are almost limitless and the experi- 
ments will be watched with interest. Should they prove successful, it 
is highly probable that efforts will be undertaken to utilize the vast area 
of live hot springs and geysers at Volcano Lake, twenty-five miles south 
of Calexico. 



Attention is first directed to Imperial Valley with reference to live- 
stock in early part of the second half of the last century. In the extreme 
southeast part, or that portion of the Valley extending into Mexico, 
and to the extreme point of the delta of the Colorado River in Mexico, 
range grasses and overflow growth have furnished feed for wandering 
herds of cattle for many years. In the years when unexpected rains had, 
during the winter season, moistened the desert loam, short-lived grasses 
sprang up and furnished temporary feed of considerable luxuriance to 
stockmen and their herds from the Coast Range hills lying between our 
Valley and the Pacific shores. Aside from this, no hope or anticipation 
suggested itself to a living soul, with reference to live-stock, except the 
promise of irrigation from the spectacular but, as yet, useless Colorado 

In 1900 and 1901, when the first water was diverted for agricultural 
use, the future for live-stock on an entirely different basis was an as- 
sured fact. 

A veritable stockman's paradise, in which the question of feed would 
never rise as an uncertainty, but to know with the accuracy of a factory 
manager the output of his plant. Fertile soil, water and sunshine con- 
tinuous forever, with judgment and attention to recognized scientific 
principles of agriculture. In the earliest days of agricultural effort our 
first crop was barley, due to simplicity in planting and propagation and 

From the green, rich fields of the growing grain thousands of "feed- 
ers" were shipped direct to the packers, after which the grain was har- 
vested. This was the first form of live-stock activity, and eminently suc- 
cessful it is followed to the present day, mostly by large stock owners 
shipping their immense herds into the Valley in the fall, to be finished 
by spring or before the summer heat. 



Next followed extensive planting of alfalfa. A very natural corollary 
to this was the importation of dairy herds, either by owners or tenants. 
If one branch of live-stock activity more than another could be classi- 
fied as most successful, that distinction should belong to the dairy in- 
dustry. More than a few farms have been paid for entirely from the 
dairy proceeds, and in an extraordinarily short time. The by-products 
and customary side lines — hogs and chickens — have accomplished al- 
most unbelievable results, and it should freely be urged on the prospec- 
tive farmer of small means to follow this line if he is in any degree 

Sheep deserve prominent mention, and have always been fairly iden- 
tified among the live-stock statistics of Imperial Valley, although not 
until recently, since the prices of wool and mutton have leaped beyond 
the wildest dreams of the most sanguine, have the sheepmen truly come 
into their own. Two shearings of wool per annum, and milk lambs in 
February and March, is all the experienced sheepman need hear in 
order to believe anything of our Valley. 

Fowl of every description thrive without restraint ; dampness and 
chill — deadly to chicken turkeys — entirely absent, thus removing the 
greatest element of risk ; Los Angeles market quotations on everything 
pertaining to poultry; many farmers' wives are yearly clothing them- 
selves and families, to say nothing of the summer vacations and new 
flivers, on the proceeds from their chickens. No expensive chicken 
houses or shelters ; a certainty of maximum results on an infinitesimal 

Hogs! Nothing promises more. Although contrary to the accepted 
idea, probably more equipment and care are necessary to successful hog 
growing than to any other branch of live-stock production. Twelve 
months outdoors in the sunshine — God's greatest prophylactic — then 
with provision for cleanliness and reasonable sanitation the bugbear of 
the hog game — cholera — disappears, not to mention the recommenda- 
tion of the United States Department of Agriculture concerning vac- 
cination with the virus and serum process for cholera immunization. 
On every acre of land a crop of corn and a crop of barley each year — 
two crops of grain per annum ; six to nine crops of alfalfa. No place on 
earth but suffers from comparison. Farm labor shortage, and the crops 
can be harvested by the hogs themselves — both grass and grain. Every 



antagonistic element practically under control — Nature working with 
man to accomplish an unbelievable production. 

Stockmen from every part of the United States have invested and 
settled in Imperial Valley, and, without exception, have done so with 
the basic idea of permanent insurance. If all else fails, Imperial Valley 
will save me and mine. 



One can say that there have been two northern districts of Lower 
California — the old and the new. I call old the one centering about En- 
senada along about 1890, and new the one whose center is Mexicali — 
that is, the present district. The period in which the old district reached 
its culmination coincided with the discovery and exploration of placer 
gold at El Alamo, or Santa Clara ; and as this rich mineral reached the 
market through Ensenada, this place was the one that realized the 
greatest benefit from the gold which the earth so abundantly furnished. 

Then Ensenada enjoyed its most brilliant epoch, and today it is still a 
beautiful town, surrounded by fine plantations of corn and beans. With 
the falling off of the exportation of gold came naturally the decadence 
of Ensenada, and this at the time when Mexicali and its surroundings, 
or the Mexican portion of Imperial Valley, began to show its first signs 
of prosperity. 

The political events of the year 1914, which put Colonel Esteban 
Cantu at the head of the government, coincided with the downfall of 
Ensenada and the evident manifestation of the development of the Mex- 
icali region. Perhaps the realization of this fact was what determined 
Colonel Cantu to establish the capital of the district at Mexicali. This 
was a wise move, because under his constant and intelligent watchful- 
ness this section has been able to develop itself to as great a degree as 
might be expected — so much so that Mexicali is the storehouse (caja 
fuerte) of the district ; the open strong-box that contains the means by 
which other regions, at present less productive or less wealthy, are able 
to weather their financial crises. 

A mining country needs less of the initiative of human talent than an 
agricultural region. Ensenada was the capital of a mining region ; Mex- 
icali is the head of an agricultural community. In the development of 



Mexicali more than at Ensenada has intervened the human element with 
its initiative and its genius. This element has been directed and en- 
couraged by Colonel Cantu, the man to whom this section of Lower 
California owes most. 

From the first the Colonel's policy of government has proceeded to- 
ward the development of the northern district of Lower California, and, 
as this district was almost nothing when he began to govern it, he is in 
reality its principal promoter. 

This accomplishment may be divided into several parts ; namely, ( 1 ) 
The development of the different regions of the district, principally of 
Mexicali; (2) Communication between the various regions; (3) Com- 
munication by all of these regions with the continental part of Mexico 
by an all-Mexican route. As can be seen at first glance, some points in 
this program are intimately related to others. 

It would be impossible in a few paragraphs to give a complete resume 
of the political labors of Colonel Cantu, but in general terms we shall 
refer to his many activities. 

Since, due to the general situation of the republic and to that pro- 
duced by the diverse mining laws, mining must remain paralyzed, Col- 
onel Cantu has given his attention to agriculture, providing every facil- 
ity for opening new lands to cultivation. These facilities have served to 
the extent that cultivated lands that before 1914 were confined to those 
farms adjacent to the irrigation canals from the Colorado River now 
extend many miles from these canals. 

The southern portion of the district at present open to irrigation in- 
cludes the plain which Sr. Rene Grivel opened to cultivation by building 
new canals to meet its needs. In addition to giving every aid to the 
farmers already established. Colonel Cantu took steps to bring in new 
laborers and colonists to cultivate the virgin soil. He has given prefer- 
ence to Mexican colonists, many thousands of whom have arrived in 
the Mexican portion of Imperial Valley. The same assistance which has 
been given to the region about Mexicali has also been afforded Tia 
Juana, Ensenada and Tecate, but with lesser results than in the first 
case. Due perhaps to the rosy prospects which the cultivation of cot- 
ton offers capital, enterprise and enthusiasm have gathered with more 
vigor around Mexicali than around any other place. As a result Mexi- 
cali has been peopled with more daring and enterprising men than the 


remainder of the district, but nevertheless all of the district has been 

The Mexican government has also entered into the agricultural in- 
dustry in its so-called "cavalry replenishing farms" (haciendas de re- 
monta), of which there are many in the district, principally at Tecate, 
Ensenada and Tia Juana. These farms are now two years old, and have 
nearly paid back to the government the cost of their establishment. The 
farmers are furnished with modern implements of agriculture. The 
principal object of the government is the establishment of model farms, 
where market vegetables can be cultivated, and where horses and mules 
for the army can be raised. These farms promise to be a great success, 
and in time it is hoped will be copied in all parts of Mexico. The prices 
of all products are subject to governmental control. 

To the growth of the cities of the district Colonel Cantu has con- 
tributed an infinite amount of work. Among his labors we may men- 
tion the following : In Mexicali have been provided a condenser, a large 
school building costing $80,000, a park, a telegraph office, infantry bar- 
racks, cavalry barracks, a municipal hospital, a customhouse, a bridge 
over New River, street paving, besides numerous works of lesser im- 
portance; in Ensenada, troop headquarters, a wharf and asphalt pave- 
ments ; in Tia Juana, infantry and cavalry barracks and water works. 
To facilitate the growth of the different regions of the district, Colonel 
Cantu has established four municipalities — Ensenada, Mexicali, Te- 
cate and Tia Juana. Formerly there was only one — that of Ensenada. 
Colonel Cantu has established his official headquarters at Mexicali, 
where he spends the greater part of the year, and at intervals makes of- 
ficial visits to the other municipalities. 

Communication between the various populated districts is made by 
means of the "Camino Nacional," which unites Mexicali, Tecate, Tia 
Juana and Ensenada. Part of this road from Ensenada north, connect- 
ing with Tia Juana and Tecate, had already been constructed, but was 
found in bad condition and at places for long stretches had been aban- 
doned for new routes. From Tecate to Mexicali all of the road is the 
work of Colonel Cantu's government. It lacks completion only for a 
distance of about a mile, where it was necessary to tunnel through solid 
rock, and dynamite for the operation could not be secured from the 
United States. 



Mexicali, Tia Juana, Tecate and Ensenada have been joined by tele- 
phone and telegraph lines, which at this date have been in good working 
order for several months. At the present time there are to be completed 
telegraphic and telephone connections with the port of San Felipe, all 
to be in place probably in May of this year (1918)!. The communication 
from the district to the continental portion of Mexico by an all-Mexi- 
can route will be by way of the port of San Felipe, to which place there 
will be opened soon a railroad or automobile road, as the circumstances 
of the moment require. As has been already mentioned, the stretch from 
San Felipe on is about to be bridged by telephone and telegraph lines. 

Since San Felipe is at the upper head of the Gulf of California, it 
will be possible to arrange an easy route to the ports of Sonora and 
Sinaloa and to the center of the republic without need of passing 
through the United States. 

These results are in a large way the outcome of the government of 
Colonel Cantu. They are works of great importance for Lower Califor- 
nia, and redound much to the honor of a young man who, without 
former experience of government, at the most trying times for the 
Mexican republic, was able to undertake them. 


Colonel Cantu was born in Linares, State of Nuevo Leon, on the 
27th day of November, 1880, his parents being Don Juan Antones 
Cantu and Dona Francisca Jimenez de Cantu. He studied first in the 
government primary schools at Linares and by himself, bookkeeping 
and other subjects not being given there. He afterwards moved to Mor- 
elia, Michoacan, where he entered private classes that prepared stu- 
dents to enter the military college at Chapultepec. He remained in Mor- 
elia until December, 1897. 

In January, 1898, he satisfactorily passed the examination for en- 
trance to the military school whose courses he followed during 1898 and 
1899 and 1900, preparing himself in army tactics. At the end of this 
period he entered the army as lieutenant of the 12th regiment of cavalry 
at Monterey. He served in this organization during 1901, and at its 
close was commissioned as instructor of army reserves at Guadalupe 
and Calvo, Chihuahua, where he remained permanently until the end of 
1902. From there he was removed to Huejincar, Jalisco, where the same 



duties were assigned him and at the end of 1903 he discontinued defin- 
itely field work as instructor of reserves. He was removed to Sonora at 
the end of 1903, to take part in the campaigns against the Yaquis, and 
he remained there until the end of 1906. 


After acting in Sonora, Captain Cantu was located at various places 
in the Republic, serving in different military capacities, and was raised 
to the rank of major in 191 1, when F. L. de la Barra was president and 
Francisco I. Madero, principal adviser of the government. At the end 
of May, 191 1, by order of the secretary of war, he took command of a 
portion of the 17th regiment of infantry which, at that time, was com- 
manded by Colonel Renaldo Diaz. The commander of the 17th regiment 
received orders to send two companies to Mexicali to occupy the north- 
ern district of Lower California, where it was feared a secession move- 
ment would break out. These companies came to Lower California 
under command of Lieut. Colonel Fidencio Gonzales and Major Cantu, 
crossing American territory, and they entered Lower California at Mex- 
icali the 26th day of June, 191 1. The same day Lieut. Col. Gonzales left 
for Tia Juana and left Major Cantu as chief of the garrison of the 
town in command of 100 men. 

Thereupon he encountered a difficult situation which required the aid 
of the elements on which he was counting and which was won only by 
his resolution and coolness. The principal land companies who had con- 
cessions from the central government organized a body of volunteers 
for the defense of their interests. This body was commanded by Ro- 
dolfo F. Gallegas and was composed of 300 effective soldiers, even 
though it appears to have less than 200. As soon as Lieutenant- 
Colonel Gonzales left for Tia Juana, Major Cantu took notice that the 
body of volunteers did not accept willingly the arrival of the troops 
and he thought that they intended to rise up against him on the night 
of the 21st, kill him and incite a secession movement as soon as this 
occurred. Major Cantu called Gallegas and had a conversation with 
him in which Gallegas assured him that he was a friend of the govern- 
ment and that the people would not be hostile toward Cantu and he 
placed himself at Cantu's orders. 

Major Cantu then ordered him to concentrate the volunteers at his 



military headquarters which was in front of the Inter-California sta- 
tion at the south side and that there he would see them. 

At the hour indicated, Major Cantu went to the headquarters, leav- 
ing his people prepared in their places under command of Captain 
Gabriel Rivera. On arriving there he found that the volunteers had not 
received orders to reassemble. He then ordered them to be called and 
they commenced to arrive, some armed and others without arms, for 
they had them hidden in different places in the small town. He spoke to 
the revolutionists a little while and he saw that there lived in them the 
spirit of rebellion, showing itself upon seeing themselves reunited; that 
the majority were not Mexicans but people of the frontier who have no 
fixed nationality. 

He ordered them to lay down their arms and commanded his own 
men to be called, twenty of whom came under command of Captain 
Rivera himself. When the volunteers realized what was happening the 
troops were upon them and they did not make a movement. The major 
placed sentinels, manned a guard, and proceeded immediately to dis- 
miss the volunteers save only a few more than twenty whom he incor- 
porated with his people. 


Those volunteers whom he incorporated into his troops of the 17th, car- 
ried to his ranks the idea of rebellion and began from then on to make 
in the barracks seditious propaganda. 

Captain Gabriel Rivera, Manuel Campos and Sergeant Salvador 
Raminez were under Major Cantu. Then there was an Indian from 
Ixtlan who served as assistant to him and was called Jacinto Mora 
Nova. He was aware of the criminal intents of a great part of the 
troops. Whenever he went to the barracks he was received by hostile 
looks from the soldiers and the information which the assistant gave 
him was valuable. 

The situation was difficult since he was isolated completely from 
Mexico and without hopes of receiving help from any part, for he was 
ignorant of the fact that men from the 8th and 25th infantry were com- 
ing to his aid. The information which the assistant gave him was that 
the troops wished to rebel and kill him and that the leaders were in 
accord with the people of the American side, who were the ones that 



instigated them and were trying to incite a movement toward separation. 
At last one day he said to him that the plot had matured to such a 
point that during the night there would be an uprising and they would 
assassinate him. The signal would be given in Calexico by the discharg- 
ing of a pistol. Finally he told him exactly the names of a sergeant, a 
corporal and 20 soldiers who were the ones who would strike. This was 
taking place on the 8th of September, 191 1. 

Major Cantu took a list of all his men and marked on it the names of 
the conspirators, sending it to Captain Rivera with orders that he should 
direct all in formation and under arms to the command of the sergeant. 
The moment had arrived for great resolution. He decided to play all 
for all, to lose his life or save the situation. 

Captain Rivera was astounded with the order which seemed to him 
unreasonable, but nevertheless he was a man of discipline and did what 
was told him. Very soon the conspirators arrived at the lodging of the 
major which was the waiting room of the Inter-California railway, and 
at that time the only habitable place in Mexicali. 

He placed them in formation and spoke to them in the plain and elo- 
quent simplicity of a true captain. He confronted them with the treason 
which they were about to commit against him and their country which 
had sent them to that desert, isolated from all communication, that they 
should commit a crime. 

"Here you have me alone, unarmed," he said to them. 

"Kill me. Here is your leader, assassinate him." 

The troops remained stationary. 

"You wish to betray your country. Very well, kill me and betray it 
if you are bad Mexicans." 

Behind Major Cantu was a small, tricolor flag, a sacred symbol which 
seemed to tremble under emotion upon hearing that vibrating call. The 
faces began to blanch. Finally one of the conspirators spoke and said 
that he repented of his intentions. 

Things now were in his favor, the better thought prevails, the plot 
was crushed. 

Colonel Cantu had been awake since 2 o'clock in the morning. The 
heat of the season, the watchfulness and the difficult situation had tried 
him. He said to the repentant conspirators : 

"Now, I'm going to sleep and you are going to watch over me. You 


are going to care for your chief. If you still care to kill me you can do 
it while I am sleeping." 

He manned the guard. He told one of the men that he should fix him 
a bed and then he retired. Upon waking the troops were watching. The 
hour indicated by the conspirators who were on foreign soil had passed. 
These had given the signal agreed upon but all had been useless upon 
the hearts, which he knew had spoken to them of honor, duty and pa- 
triotism. The young commander who had shown that in truth he was 
such, called the guard and took his leave as usual and sent the soldiers 
to their barracks. Those who went out enemies returned enthusiastic 
friends of that real gentleman whose reputation began to grow. It 
spread from the barracks and flowed in all directions, forming an aura 
of sympathy and popular appreciation which later must make of him a 


On the following day, that is, the 19th day of September, 191 1, in which 
Major Cantu had saved the difficult situation which has just been re- 
lated and without his foreknowledge or expectation, two hundred and 
fifty men arrived from Mexico from the 25th regiment of infantry un- 
der Colonel Francisco Vasquez. 

The 25th regiment, which had furnished such good service to Colonel 
Cantu and which is now the state troops of the northern district, was 
at the beginning of 191 1 on garrison duty in the territory of Quintaui 
Roo. When the trouble broke out in Lower California the central gov- 
ernment called the regiment to the capital of the republic and after a 
brief rest sent it to Lower California. It set sail from the port of Man- 
zanilla for Ensenada on December 25th, and made the trip over the 
mountains to Mexicali. At that time Colonel Vasquez was still com- 
mander of the 25th and the captain of the 2nd was the present Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Hipolito Barranco, now commander-in-chief. 

Almost at the same time that the 25th arrived in Mexicali came 
forces from the 8th regiment to Algodones, under command of Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Juan Vasquez, brother of Colonel Francisco Vasquez. 
Upon the arrival of the 25th, Colonel Vasquez was chief of the garri- 
son at Mexicali, and as he left in October, Major Cantu again assumed 
the command. At that time there was organized a troop of cavalry under 



command of Major Cantu which, by order of the government, took the 
name of its leader and has ever since been called "Esteban Cantu." Also 
this organization still serves in the northern district of Lower Cali- 

At the end of 1912 Major Cantu received permission to make a trip 
to Monterey to visit his family ; but he did not make it, because he was 
called to Ensenada by the military commander, General Cordillo Escu- 
dero, who advised him to pursue Tirso de la Tora, who was operating 
very close to Tecate. De la Tora had an encounter with the government 
troops near the ranch "To Topo," where his followers were scattered, 
he going into the United States. 

From the end of 1912 until the middle of 1913 Major Cantu remained 
in Tecate as chief of the garrison and later was sent to Mexicali. While 
Lieutenant-Colonel Augustin Laguno was in command. Colonel Juan 
Lojero followed him in command. 


We now come to the month of August, 1914, the month that will be 
famous in the history of Mexico because in that month the routine of 
the old political life of the nation was changed definite, and it will be 
famous also for Lower California, because at the rebounding here of 
the sensational happenings of the capital of the republic, the life of the 
peninsula also suffered a radical change which coincided with the ac- 
cession of Colonel Cantu to a prominent place in public affairs. 

Being chief of the plaza of Mexicali, the said Colonel Lojero and 
Colonel Cantu, his subordinate officer, Lieutenant Jose Cantu, brother 
of the Colonel, came to Calexico. Lieutenant-Colonel Cantu brought to 
his brother the news that the revolution had triumphed completely, 
that Carbajal had gone from Mexico and that the federal regiment was 
to be disbanded in the city of Puebla, things that so far were not known. 
At a moment of noble frankness and comradeship, Colonel Cantu re- 
peated to Lojero the conversation he had had with his brother, which 
was enough to frighten Lojero and without considering that Colonel 
Cantu was a perfect gentleman, believed him capable of deceiving him. 
Lojero was so frightened that he suggested to Vasquez the shooting of 
Colonel Cantu. This shooting did not take place because the persons 



charged with fulfilling the order refused, knowing the unimpeachable 
honor of the colonel. 

Things were thus when Lieutenant-Colonel Fortunato Tenonio de- 
nounced General Francisco Vasquez at Ensenada. The imprisonment 
of this man and his brother, Juan, and the election of Municipal Presi- 
dent David Tarate to be chief administrator by the town of Ensenada 
also took place. 

Lojero passed from fear to terror and fled from Mexicali, leaving 
the garrison without a commander. There then followed a series of ne- 
gotiations between some officials of the garrison at Mexicali and 
Colonel Cantu, who had succeeded in obtaining his retirement from the 
army, disgusted with the imprudence of Lojero. 

Colonel Cantu was in Calexico and the officials called him to Mexi- 
cali. The Colonel refused to come because he did not wish to be an 
active factor in the local disturbances, but when his fellow soldiers ex- 
plained to him the difficult situation of the city and its garrison and 
explained that he was the only one who, by his prestige with the troops 
and the people was able to save the day, he resolved to put himself at 
the front of the troops as he did on the 29th of August, 1914. 

With the imprisonment of Vasquez and the flight of Lojero the 
army officer of the highest rank remaining in the district was Colonel 
Cantu ; the garrison recognized him at once as their commander, the 
colonel having, by virtue of the facts stated, arrived to be in military 
command and later the political situation was so established that tran- 
quillity reigned. 

But the former prestige of the colonel and the excellent way in 
which he exercised command of the town which gave him fame in 
the district made him stand out as a brilliant figure, as Zarata never 
did, so that little by little he came to be in fact governor of the entire 
region. When the convention of Aguascalientas was organized it was 
believed there that from it would emanate the government of the unified 
nation and a representative was sent who was to see things in close 
quarters, to study the situation nationally from the center of the re- 
public and to cement this district with the nation, for it was never 
Colonel Cantu's intention to raise a local flag. 

This representative, instead of carrying out his commission in the 
manner indicated, conferred with Jose Maria Maytorema, who was 


governor of Sonora, and in accord with him and brought with him as 
civil governor, one Baltazar Aviles. 


Aviles established himself in Ensenada in September, 1914, while 
Colonel Cantu remained stationed in Mexicali, as military commander 
since the convention had not touched upon the matter of this appoint- 
ment. Aviles began a series of abuses and persecutions which pro- 
voked a general discontent among the people and the troops of the gar- 
risen. The people as well as the soldiers and a great part of the 
officials looked upon Colonel Cantu as the only man capable of saving 
that disastrous situation. 

Aviles and Lieutenant-Colonel Arnulfo Cervantes, then commander 
of the 25th regiment, worked in perfect accord with Aviles. They sep- 
arated themselves little by little from the colonel, making silent war as 
well on those who sympathized with him, parties who were then in 
Ensenada: Barranco (then major)' captain and later major, and Doctor 
Hipolito Jauregin had great influence among the soldiers of the 25th. 
The conspirators plotted to rid themselves of the 25th battalion in order 
to deprive Colonel Cantu of elements of order to the extent that they 
resolved to send it to Guaymas. They embarked the troops on board the 
steamer Herrerias, on November 28, 1914. Commander Miranda was 
in charge of the ship and Cervantes embarked with the battalion. This 
was done without the knowledge of Colonel Cantu, who was the mili- 
tary commander. The Herrerias sailed to the south and upon crossing 
Magdalena Bay met up with an American merchant boat which stopped 
and signaled the Herrerias, that it should stop also. When the boats 
were alongside the American commander informed Miranda that the 
day before the gunboat Guerrero, headed northwest, had sailed from 
Mazatlan and that there it was said that the gunboat was going to take 
the Herrerias in tow and imprison all the troops. Cervantes, who was 
at that time merely a pirate and the victim of the designs of Aviles, 
said nothing, and Miranda, without consulting anyone, turned the ship 
about and returned to Ensenada, where it arrived at night on the 30th 
day of November. 




When the Herrerias arrived at Ensenada its passengers learned the 
news that Miguel Santa Cruz was chief of the town at the head of an 
armed mob. Aviles, seeing that the situation was beyond his scope, had 
fled to Tia Juana, getting together all the money he could. Lieutenant- 
Colonel Cervantes left the ship and got into communication with Aviles. 
He sent an order to the ship that the battalion should be released and 
had Major Barranco arrested as well as Captain Escudero and Doctor 
Jauregin. Aviles also ordered the detention of Cervantes and again tried 
to escape from Ensenada to Tia Juana, being threatened by Santa Cruz, 
who asked him for money with which to pay off the troops. 

Santa Cruz took the prisoners and with them followed the steps of 
Aviles and pretended that he intended to shoot them in Ensenada, Sau- 
zal, Vallecitos, Cerro Colorado and Tia Juana, in the latter place at the 
international line in a place where still remains the stables of the Hip- 
podrome and where his jurisdiction ceased because when they arrived 
at the city of Tia Juana, they found that Colonel Justina Mendiota had 
not entered into the plans of Aviles and had remained faithful to 
Colonel Cantu. It seems that Santa Cruz never intended to shoot the 
prisoners but to hold them as hostages to sever the good will of Colonel 

In the meantime in Ensenada, there being no leader to put himself 
at the head of the garrison, Lieutenant-Colonel Arnulfo San Germain, 
Judge Advocate, took "accidental" command, and at once took the side 
of Colonel Cantu. 

Colonel Cantu then left with troops to put down the uprisings of 
Santa Cruz and Aviles. When he arrived at Tia Juana it was not neces- 
sary to fire a single shot because the majority of the revolutionists fled, 
or abandoned their arms and declared themselves for the party of order. 

With the flight of Aviles and Santa Cruz terminated the misfortunes 
and misgovernment of the northern district of Lower California, for 
Colonel Cantu was invested by the people and soldiers with the office 
of civil leader and military commander which he held until the time he 
was made governor. 

With the foregoing words ends the recital of the culminating deeds 
of the military career of Colonel Cantu and explains his entrance into 


political life. If the deeds of the valiant soldier, worshipper of duty 
and patriotism are admirable, very admirable are also the deeds less 
strenuous but equally important of the statesman, organizer, lover of 
public weal, and enthusiast for throwing himself into every progressive 

The contents of this biography of Colonel Cantu deals with the lesser 
and earlier activities of this young military and political leader and ex- 
plains with sufficient details the campaign of the colonel in Lower Cali- 
fornia and how, at first, he began to have an influence in the life of this 
region ; how later he came to be the leader of its remarkable economic 

At the same time nothing is said here of the administrative activities 
of Colonel Cantu, of those to which he fully dedicated himself as soon 
as peace was established and his government consolidated. 

Part II 


CHARLES ROBINSON ROCKWOOD.— It has been the portion of 
this honored and representative citizen of Imperial County, California, 
to gain more than a usual quota of experience as a pioneer of the West 
and especially Southern California, and he has marked the passing 
years with worthy accomplishment. He has had many experiences, 
which give him a wonderful store of interesting reminiscences. Genial, 
kindly, generous and broad minded, he is held by the closest of ties to 
a veritable army of friends, and as the first man and permanent settler 
in the beautiful Imperial Valley, as well as one who has contributed in 
splendid measure to the development and upbuilding of this favored 
section, he is specially entitled to be called the "Father of Imperial 
County." Charles Robinson Rockwood was born on a farm near Flint, 
Michigan, May 14, i860. His parents were of old Puritan stock. His 
mother was a descendant of John Robinson, who was the organizer of 
the Mayflower expedition in 1620. As a boy Mr. Robinson became in- 
ured to the arduous duties of the farm, and in the meanwhile he at- 
tended the primitive schools of his home neighborhood. He thus laid 
the solid foundation for the broad fund of knowledge which he has 
gained through self -discipline. Bent upon having a better education, he 
entered the high school of Flint, Michigan, at the age of fifteen and 
graduated at the head of his class in 1878. His father being unable to 
furnish him with sufficient money to continue his education, Mr. Rock- 
wood borrowed funds and entered the University of Michigan in the 
fall of 1878, and took a course in engineering. He studied too hard and 
his eyes failed him before he finished. For three months he was obliged 
to wear a bandage while at study. Finally he was obliged to quit the 
university and get out into the open. On May 13, 1881, he left home and 
went to Denver, Colorado. This was the day before his twenty-first 
birthday. Upon reaching Denver he became identified with the engi- 
neering department of the Denver and Rio Grande Railway as assist- 
ant engineer. The first engineering work done by Mr. Rockwood was 



on the Blue and Grand rivers in Colorado. The following winter he 
made a survey in Utah, down the Green River, the other great tribu- 
tary of the Colorado. In 1882 he came to California and entered the 
services of the Southern Pacific Railway. His first work in their service 
was in July, 1882, when he went to Yuma and from there up the Col- 
orado to the Needles, and from there on surveyed (under WilliamHood, 
chief engineer) to Mojave and across the Mojave Desert. Mr. Rock- 
wood remained in the employ of the Southern Pacific until 1889. Dur- 
ing 1889-1890 he served as assistant engineer in the U.S. Geological 
Survey on the first irrigation investigations undertaken by the Govern- 
ment. 1 890- 1 892 he was chief engineer for the Northern Pacific Rail- 
road in a project to irrigate the Yakima Valley, Washington. He left 
the Yakima Valley in October, 1892, and came to the Colorado Desert 
for the Arizona and Sonora Land and Irrigation Company to investi- 
gate the Sonora project of that concern. He reported unfavorably on 
that project and turned his attention to the canals in Lower California 
and California, since known as the Imperial Valley. Rockwood's re- 
ports on this project being favorable, the Denver company decided to 
go ahead with it, and organized the Colorado River Land and Irriga- 
tion Company for this purpose. This company failed in the panic of 
1893, an d in 1895 Mr. Rockvvood decided to undertake the promotion 
of the project, organizing for this purpose the California Development 
Company. He found the work of financing an irrigation project in the 
Colorado Desert more difficult than he anticipated, but after numerous 
failures, succeeded in starting construction in August, 1900. He re- 
mained with the work as chief engineer until 1906, when due to the 
breaking into the Valley of the entire river, the project was thrown 
under the control of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, and Mr. 
Rockwood resigned. From 1906 to 1909 he lived in Los Angeles, devel- 
oping land interests in the Valley and fighting the Southern Pacific 
Company to get something for himself and associates out of the stock 
of the California Development Company, which failed, the stockhold- 
ers never receiving a cent. Mr. Rockwood was identified with the 
oil and railroad development work in the Santa Maria Valley. As chief 
engineer, he located and built the Santa Maria Valley Railroad. In 
November, 1914, he returned to the Imperial Valley as chief engineer 
and general manager of the Imperial Irrigation District, remaining in 





this capacity until January 1, 1917. The work now being projected is 
practically all in the plans outlined by Mr. Rockwood. He is now en- 
gaged for himself in developing a nine-thousand-acre cotton ranch 
under the canal system in Lower California. Mr. Rockwood was twice 
married, the first union being to Katherine Davenport of Vacaville, 
California. To this union one daughter was born, Estelle, born in 1888. 
The second marriage occurred in 1906 to Mrs. Mildred Cassin, a na- 
tive of St. John, New Brunswick, Canada. In his political views Mr. 
Rockwood is a Republican, but has never aspired to office. 

CHARLES L. DAVIS was born in Mayne County, Iowa, April 18, 
1870, a son of Thomas Jefferson and Emiline (Shrom) Davis. His 
father was a school teacher and farmer, and his death occurred No- 
vember 14, 1884. Mr. Davis' mother died June 3, 1881. Charles L., the 
subject of this review, received his education in the public schools of 
Rock Island County, Illinois, and Leavenworth County, Kansas, and 
San Joaquin Valley, California. At the age of eighteen Mr. Davis came 
to California and located in Fresno. While a resident of that city, he 
took two terms in the school of complete steam engineering. He oper- 
ated a threshing outfit in various places and naturally grew in to the 
blacksmith trade. He has been in Southern California since 1903, and in 
1908 Mr. Davis came to Imperial Valley. He found employment with 
the Southern Pacific Railroad as watchman, and in the sheriff's office 
in El Centro and city marshal's office in Holtville and El Centro. He 
removed to Calexico in September, 1916, and now is the sole proprietor 
of the valley blacksmith shop. In connection with his shop Mr. Davis 
carries a line of agricultural implements. In his political affiliations he 
votes the Democratic ticket, but has never aspired to office. Fraternally 
he is a member of Court No. 33, I. O. F., of Los Angeles, Califor- 
nia. Mr. Davis was married to Nannie M. Bradley, a native of Indiana, 
February 14, 1914, and her death occurred June 20, 1916. There was 
one child born to Mrs. Davis by a former marriage, Marvel, the wife of 
Victor L. Cook of Salt Lake City, Utah. Mr. Davis is a member of the 
Calexico chamber of commerce and takes an active part in matters per- 
taining to the welfare of Calexico and Imperial County. 

HENRY A. STAHL. — Among the business men of Imperial County, 
and especially one who has been identified with the upbuilding of a 



greater Brawley, is Henry A. Stahl, a member of the firm of Stahl 
Brothers Company, one of the largest and most metropolitan stores in 
Southern California. Henry A. Stahl is vice president of the firm and 
has been actively identified with the mercantile life of the county since 
1903. He was born in Winesburg, Ohio, March 21, 1879, a son of 
Valentine J. and Elizabeth (Frankhauser) Stahl, both residing in 
Winesburg, Ohio. His father is now in his eighty-first year and his 
mother is seventy-six. Henry A. acquired his education in the public 
schools of his native town. At the age of sixteen he started out in life 
and worked at Akron, Ohio, in the rubber works of that city. In 1901 
he came west, teaching school and doing manual labor. With his broth- 
ers, Charles, William, Edward, John and Fred, the brothers were en- 
gaged in leveling land for the large crops which were to be planted. 
Stahl Brothers leveled about one thousand acres of land adjacent to 
Brawley, and they were the first to have an interest in the corn crop, 
which was planted on the site where Brawley is situated and which 
was an unbroken desert. In 1906, Stahl Brothers opened a modest dry 
goods and gents' furnishing store, and by fair business methods the 
store has grown to be one of the leading establishments of its kind in 
the county. The subject of this review owns and cultivates one hun- 
dred and ten acres which is planted to corn and potatoes. Fraternally 
he is a member of the K. of P. of Brawley. He was married in Braw- 
ley, California, December 20, 1909, to Miss Minnie A. Garber, a 
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Garber. Mrs. Garber's death occurred 
in February, 1910, and is buried in the Brawley Cemetery. One daugh- 
ter blessed this union, Ellen Elizabeth, born July 31, 1913. When Mr. 
Stahl came to what is now the flourishing city of Brawley, there were 
two adobe houses and a few tent houses. He has thus contributed to the 
industrial and civic progress of this favored section of the county. 

HARRY N. DYKE. — One of the essentially able and representative 
members of the bar of Imperial County is Harry N. Dyke, who is now 
filling the office of city attorney, with offices in Imperial. The oldest of 
two children born to Eugene B. and Emily (Gilbert) Dyke, his mother 
is now residing in San Diego and in her sixty-fifth year, Mr. Dyke's 
birth occurred in Iowa in 1873. Eugene B. Dyke was a man of high 
mental attainments and widely known throughout Iowa as a brilliant 


and successful journalist. For a full quarter of a century he was edi- 
tor of the Charles City Intelligencer, of which he kept complete files, 
rendering the paper especially useful for reference when questions of 
moment arose in regard to public or private affairs. He was an able 
and fearless writer, and his death, which occurred in 1897, was a dis- 
tinct loss to the community and to the journalistic world, as well as to 
his immediate family. Brought up in Iowa, Harry N. Dyke acquired his 
elementary knowledge in the public schools, after leaving the high 
school entering the law department of the State University of Iowa, 
from which he was graduated with the class of 1896. He was admitted 
to the bar the same year, and began the practice of law in Iowa. After 
the death of his father he assumed the management of the Charles City 
Intelligencer, with which he was identified for four years. In 1901, de- 
ciding that the extreme West was the proper place for an ambitious 
young man to begin his career, Mr. Dyke came to California, and in 
1902 located in the Imperial Valley, settling here in pioneer days. He 
took up one hundred and sixty acres of wild desert land, but ere he had 
made many improvements sold it at an advantage. In 1904, when Impe- 
rial became incorporated, Mr. Dyke had the honor of being elected the 
first city clerk, and held the office continuously until 1910. For three 
years he served as secretary of the Imperial Chamber of Commerce, 
and for a brief period was justice of the peace. He is now devoting 
himself to his profession, and as an attorney has built up a good pat- 
ronage in Imperial and vicinity. Mr. Dyke married, in 1898, Adele 
Hammer, and they have one child, a daughter named Dorothy. 

JAMES W. CASS has gained distinction in the Valley owing to his 
mechanical skill and ability in handling automobile repair work. He is 
a native son and his birth occurred in Stockton, March 8, 1886, son of 
Charles L. and Lenie (Stevens) Cass, deceased. His father died in 
Stockton, May, 1917, and is buried in Stockton. His mother died Feb- 
ruary 18, 1907, and was buried in the Odd Fellows' Cemetery in San 
Francisco, California. James W. acquired his education in the public 
schools. He started out in life at an early age. He engaged in the ex- 
press and draying business in Vallejo, and in San Francisco, and fol- 
lowed this vocation for two years. He engaged in the tea and coffee 
business for a time, and at the age of twenty-one he learned the auto- 


mobile trade, which he has since followed. In 1912, Mr. Cass came to 
Imperial Valley out of curiosity. He did not intend to remain, but see- 
ing the possibilities, he opened his present concern, which is the larg- 
est in the city. Owing to his expert mechanical skill, his business grew 
to such an extent he had to eliminate the selling of gasoline and chang- 
ing tires. Mr. Cass has employed as high as eight first-class mechanics. 
Fraternally he is a member of the Masonic Lodge of Imperial. In poli- 
tics he votes for the man, irrespective of party. He was married in Los 
Angeles, California, January 29, 1908, to Miss Ethel Bell Chamberlain, 
daughter of Riley Chamberlain, a prominent actor in the east ; his death 
occurred in 1916. Mr. and Mrs. Cass have four children: Marjorie E., 
born February 18, 1912; Jennie C, born November 1, 1914; Halbert S., 
born March 30, 1916, and Rena, born August 10, 1917. Mr. Cass has 
a vast amount of energy and enterprise and has a host of friends both 
in business and socially. 

ENOS J. NORRISH. — The efficient and popular justice of the peace 
and recorder of the thriving city of Holtville, came to Imperial County 
in September, 1904. He is one of the representative men and loyal citi- 
zens of his locality. Mr. Norrish was born in Ontario, Canada, March 
22, 1 861, a son of Joshua and Elizabeth Norrish. His father passed 
away at the age of seventy-six and his mother resides in Toronto, Can- 
ada, and is now in her ninety-second year. The family records on both 
sides of the house go back to old English ancestry. The subject of this 
review received his education in the public schools of Canada. He en- 
tered the normal school of Canada and graduated at the age of twenty- 
three. He taught school for several years in various places and when 
he took up his residence in the town of Imperial, he was made princi- 
pal of the school, serving for four years, this being the first school in 
Imperial. Mr. Norrish possessed unbounded faith in the agricultural 
possibilities of Imperial County, and removed to Holtville. Here he 
purchased a fine ranch and brought it up to a high state of cultivation. 
He erected substantial buildings and still resides on the ranch. He en- 
gaged in alfalfa growing for years when he changed the crop to cotton. 
Mr. Norrish is at present clerk of the high school board of Holtville, 
and serves as a member of the county board of education. Fraternally 
he is a member of the K. of P. of Holtville. He was united in marriage 


to Miss Grace Beckett of St. Catharines, Ontario, April 19, 1889, a 
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Beckett, both deceased. Mrs. Nor- 
rish's father was buried near Effingham, Canada, and her mother was 
buried at Santa Ana, California. To Mr. and Mrs. Norrish have been 
born two children: Ernest S., now in the engineering corps with the 
United States Army at Camp Lewis ; Agnes E. is at present attending 
high school. In choosing its representatives for various official positions 
the city of Holtville is fortunate in having a man whose former record 
has been clearly established. Mr. Norrish has shown himself to be a 
capable public official. He has a wide circle of friends and acquaint- 
ances among Imperial County's best citizenship. 

OTTO CLOYD BRACKNEY is one of the representative business 
men of Brawley, and his business methods demonstrate the power of 
his activity and honesty in the business world. He was born July 18, 
1882, at Auglaize County, Ohio, son of Louis M. and Mary A. Brack- 
ney. His father and mother were both natives of Ohio, and raised four 
children, all of whom reside in Ohio except the subject of this review. 
Otto C. acquired his education in the public schools of his home coun- 
ty. His father was a farmer and Otto C. assisted on the home place 
until he became of age. Leaving home at twenty-one, he went to Cleve- 
land and found employment as fireman on the C. & P. R. R., until he 
was twenty-three. For two years he ran the electric light plant at Belle- 
fontaine, Ohio, and during 1905-06 he was identified with the F. N. 
Johnson wholesale grocery company of Bellefontaine. He then ran on 
the Bellefontaine and Springfield electric line until 1907. In September 
of that year he landed in Spokane, Washington, where he found em- 
ployment in the fruit business until 1909. Returning east, he went with 
the Standard Oil Company, and the following year he returned to Ro- 
salia, Washington, where he took charge of the Niles and Brackney 
Fruit Packers Association. In January, 1912, Mr. Brackney came to 
Brawley, where he engaged in the auto truck draying business with 
Andy Bodine for one year. From 1913-15 he engaged in auto hauling 
for himself. Disposing of his large auto trucks and business, he return- 
ed east for a four months' visit. Returning to Brawley, he was asso- 
ciated with Taylor-Hart Hardware Company for a year, when on De- 
cember 5, 1916, he engaged in the automobile tire and accessory busi- 


ness and took over the Buick agency. On August I, 1917, Mr. F. F. 
Palmerlee purchased one-half interest in the Buick and G. M. C. Truck 
agency. On January 1, 1918, the firm took over all the territory in Im- 
perial Valley for the Buick and G. M. C. trucks. Mr. Brackney was 
united in marriage June 5, 1910, to Emma Mae Glunk, a native of 
Washington, and daughter of John B. and Emma Mae Glunk; her 
father was one of the pioneers of Whitman County and has been a 
resident of that section for thirty-five years. He has large land hold- 
ings and is connected with stock raising. To Mr. and Mrs. Brackney 
have been born one son. Otto Cloyd, Jr., born September 22, 1916. Mrs. 
Brackney is active in the Presbyterian church and socially is a favorite 
in Brawley and Imperial County. 

CHARLES W. ALLISON is prominently identified with the business 
interests of Imperial. He is a stockholder, assistant manager and treas- 
urer of the Pacific Land and Cattle Company, located at Imperial since 
1915. Mr. Allison was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, October 6, 1887, 
a son of Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Allison, resident of that city. Mr. Allison 
acquired his schooling in the public schools and in the Wabash Col- 
lege at Crawfordsville, Indiana. He engaged with his father who was 
identified with the furniture business. Charles W. was traveling sales- 
man and for several years he traveled all over the United States. For 
two years Mr. Allison was engaged in the real estate business in Cal- 
gary, Canada. He returned to Indianapolis and again became associat- 
ed with his father in the furniture line, remaining until he came west 
and is now identified with the Pacific Land and Cattle Company. Mr. 
Allison was united in marriage with Miss Hazel Lathrop, November 
26, 1914, daughter of George A. Lathrop, general manager of the Pa- 
cific Land and Cattle Company, and also manager of the Consolidated 
Water Company of Pomona, California. To Mr. and Mrs. Allison have 
been born two children: David Lathrop, born December 16, 1915, and 
Janice Aline, born June 30, 1917. 

HARRY E. GATES has been identified with business interests of 
Brawley since February, 1914. He was born in Leadville, Colorado, 
March 30, 1883, a son of Lester A. and Mary (Newman) Gates. His 
father was a pioneer of Colorado and now resides in Denver. Mr. 



Gates' mother passed away in 1887, and is buried in Leadville, Colo- 
rado. Mr. Gates received his education in Denver and Leadville, gradu- 
ating from high school in 1900. He then attended Sacred Heart College 
of Denver for one year. He started to learn the plumbing business in 
Colorado Springs and Denver, Colorado, where he was employed for 
several years. He engaged in business in Galena, Kansas, for a period 
of three years, when he came to California and located in Brawley. 
Here he worked at his trade for one year when he engaged in business 
for himself. His years of experience in the business have made him 
thoroughly versed in ever}' department of his work and he has made 
a success in every way. He employs three expert mechanics and keeps 
in touch with every new invention relative to his business. Fraternally 
Mr. Gates is a Mason, being a member of the Blue Lodge of Galena, 
Kansas. He is a member of the B. P. O. E. and is Past Esteemed Lead- 
ing Knight. He is also a member of the K. of P. and Eagles lodge. Mr. 
Gates was married at Galena, Kansas, June 16, 1907, to Miss Ollie 
Nichols, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William B. Nichols, both de- 
ceased, and buried in Galena, Kansas. Mr. Gates installed the plumbing 
in the Brawley high school, also the steam heating plant in the First 
National Bank and hotel at Calipatria. He also had the contract for the 
hot water heating in the Brawley grammar school. Mr. Gates is a thor- 
ough mechanic, a public-spirited man and has the confidence and es- 
teem of his fellowmen. 

DONALD DOOL, one of the men of Imperial County, who, by reason 
of his personal integrity, is recognized as one of the leading men of 
Calexico. He was born in Aledo, Illinois, April 23, 1892, a son of Ed- 
ward and Anna (Irwin) Dool. Mr. Dool's father is one of the com- 
manding figures of the business life of Calexico, and he has made 
steady progress towards prominence, and is today largely connected 
with the agricultural interests of Imperial County. The subject of this 
review acquired his education in the public and high schools of Los 
Angeles, California. He afterwards entered Stanford University, and 
graduated in civil engineering in 191 5. The parents of Mr. Dool came 
to California in 1903, and located in Los Angeles. His father came 
to Imperial County and took up six hundred and forty acres. He af- 
terwards purchased one hundred and sixty acres. All the land is in 



cotton. Mr. Dool returned from college and took up engineering for 
a time and was appointed postmaster at Calexico, January 13, 1917, 
and took office March 1, 1917. Politically he is affiliated with the Dem- 
ocratic party. 

WAYNE H. COMPTON is distinguished, not only for his able assist- 
ance in the development of agricultural and horticultural resources of 
Imperial County, but is a representative business man of California. 
He is a man of great energy and intensity of purpose. Mr. Compton 
has taken a keen interest in the whole county, and has been honored 
with the position of secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, which 
position he has had since May, 1917. He was born in Middleport, New 
York, December 6, 1887, a son of Squire T. and Mary (McClean) 
Compton, a representative family of their locality. Wayne H. ac- 
quired his education in the Staunton Military Academy, Virginia, the 
Middleport, New York, high school and the Bryant Stratton Business 
College in Buffalo, New York. Later he attended the University of 
Buffalo, where he took a law course. In 1908 he traveled extensively 
for business and education, largely in the West, and in 191 1 came to 
Imperial County and associated himself with the Seely Townsite Com- 
pany, taking charge of the sales department until 1914, when he be- 
came connected with the Imperial Valley Chamber of Commerce until 

1915. Early in 1915 he took charge of the Imperial Valley's interests 
at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition at San Francisco. Mr. 
Compton represented seven counties of Southern California at the San 
Diego Exposition. At the close of the fair he returned to Imperial Val- 
ley and took charge of the bond campaign department of the Irriga- 
tion District, which he successfully conducted for the improvement of 
the great Imperial irrigation system, which amounted to $2,500,000, 
and at the conclusion of this campaign he was tendered and accepted 
the position of secretary of the El Centro Chamber of Commerce, 
which was established originally in 1909. Mr. Compton is a member of 
the Delta Chi Fraternity of Buffalo, the Masonic Lodge, and a mem- 
ber of the B. P. O. E. Politically he is a Democrat. He was united in 
marriage to Estelle M. James in San Diego, California, August 18, 

1916. The marriage occurred in the famous blue room of the Southern 
Counties building at the exposition. 



FORREST F. PALMERLEE.— In recording the names of the promi- 
nent business men of Imperial County, mention should be made of For- 
rest F. Palmerlee, who well merits the title of self-made man. He was 
born at Spangle, Washington, November 6, 1885, son of Frank D., and 
Ida A. Palmerlee. His father was a native of Dodge Center, Minnesota, 
and his mother was born in Napa County, California. The subject of 
this review acquired his education in the public schools of Washington 
and California. Leaving Washington State his parents removed to 
Santa Rosa, California. Mr. Palmerlee's father is deceased, his death 
occurred in September, 1915. His mother resides in Long Beach, Cali- 
fornia. Finishing his public school education, Forrest F. took a business 
course and later became identified with the San Pedro Lumber Com- 
pany at Long Beach as stenographer for eleven months. He then be- 
came associated with the First National Bank of Long Beach, Califor- 
nia, as assistant bookkeeper for six months. He then went with the 
Citizens Savings Bank of Long Beach as bookkeeper, where he re- 
mained for two years. In February, 1907, he removed to Imperial 
County, and accepted a position with the Calexico State Bank, and 
afterward was expert accountant for the county for six months. He 
then went with the Imperial Valley Bank at Brawley, as cashier, and in 
December, 1909, the First National Bank was organized and Mr. Pal- 
merlee accepted the position as cashier. This position he held until 
January 1, 1918, when he took an interest with Otto C. Brackney in the 
Buick and G. M. C. truck agency for Imperial Valley. Mr. Palmerlee 
was married November 15, 1906, to Miss Marguerite E. Steiner, a na- 
tive of Texas. To this union has been born one son, Marvin Glenn, born 
August 8, 1912. Mr. Palmerlee was appointed city commissioner in Oc- 
tober, 1916. He served as city treasurer for a period of two years. Mr. 
Palmerlee is much esteemed by those who know him for the sterling 
character of manhood and his good business capacity. 

BERKLEY V. EZELL is one of the progressive business men of Im- 
perial Valley. He is proprietor of the Ezell Sheet Metal Works at 645 
Main Street, El Centra. He was born at Mexia, Texas, January 28, 
1883, a son of John and Jennie (Berkley) Ezell. His father passed 
away in 1884, and his mother resides in Berkeley, California. Mr. 
Ezell acquired a limited education in the public schools at Stevensville, 


Texas. At an early age he started to learn his trade. He followed his 
vocation working in Texas and New Mexico, and in 1903 he removed 
to Los Angeles, where he worked for the Southern California Supply 
Company for a period of five years. In 1908, he engaged in business 
for himself and continued for one year. He then worked for the Col ton 
Hardware Company, where he remained until he came to El Centro, 
where he established business March 1, 1913. Here he has met with 
business success. Mr. Ezell manufactures all kinds of sheet metal work, 
such as skylights, cornice work, tanks for water systems. He also does 
heating and ventilating systems. He installed the heating system in the 
El Centro High School and many other important buildings in the Val- 
ley. Mr. Ezell has a ranch and has improved it and will put it in cotton 
this season. Mr. Ezell was twice married, the first union being to Del- 
la Baker, and her death occurred at Colton, California. To this mar- 
riage there were two children : Madeline, born January 6, 1906, and 
Vivian, born June 21, 1909. The second marriage occurred at Colton, 
California, January 3, 1913, to Florence Forsee, a daughter of Mr. 
and Mrs. Samuel Forsee, who reside in San Diego, California. Two 
children have been born of the second union: Clyde Berkley, born 
January 19, 1914, and Herbert W., born June 6, 1916. Mr. Ezell has 
been gratified with success in the business world and he and his wife 
have a host of friends in El Centro. 

J. C. HARCLEROAD, who enjoys recognition as one of the lead- 
ing and enterprising business men of El Centro, has won merited suc- 
cess. He is engaged in the automobile business and is proprietor of the 
Buick Garage at Sixth and State streets. He was born in Plattsville, 
Wisconsin, August 11, 1886, a son of J. M. and Alma (Burris) Harcle- 
road. The subject of this review acquired his education in the public 
schools, after which he entered the University of Wisconsin, graduat- 
ing in the class of 1907, and receiving the degree of B. M. He then 
became identified with the engineering department of the Buick Auto- 
mobile Company, which position he held until 1912, when he came to 
California and was connected with the sales department of the Buick 
for a period of one year. Mr. Harcleroad came to Imperial County in 
1913, locating in El Centro. He purchased the property where he is 
now located and now has the exclusive agency for the Buick automo- 



bile in Imperial County. Fraternally Mr. Harcleroad is a member of 
the B. P. O. E. He was united in marriage in Lancaster, Wisconsin, to 
Miss Minnie M. Wright, May 21, 191 1, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. S. 
Wright, who are numbered among the prominent and representative 
families of Lancaster, Wisconsin. To Mr. and Mrs. Harcleroad have 
been born two children, Eleanor and John James. The family resides at 
642 Hamilton Street, and enjoys the acquaintance of a host of friends. 

GEORGE W. ALLEN is numbered among the representative business 
men of El Centro. The opportunities that Imperial County offers to 
men of enterprise are nowhere better exemplified than in the successful 
career of George W. Allen. He was born on a farm near Paoli, Orange 
County, Indiana, a son of John D. and Lucinda (Sutherland) Allen. 
He received his education in the public schools where he was born. He 
later attended the normal school at Mitchell, and later at Paoli, Indi- 
ana. At the age of twenty-four he taught at the Clemens School in 
Orange County, Indiana. Later he was made principal of the schools 
at New Lebanon, Indiana, remaining in that position for two years. 
He purchased a farm in Sullivan County, Indiana, where he person- 
ally cultivated and looked after his place until 1903. He then came to 
California and located at Riverside, where he engaged in the paint and 
wall paper business. Later, disposing of his business, he traveled for 
some time, then removed to Imperial County and rented a ranch of 
ten acres and by intensified farming of the place, made a clear profit 
the first year of $800. He then engaged in the building and construction 
work in which he made a success, after which he again engaged in 
ranching for a time, but owing to the poor state of his health he was 
obliged to go to Hot Springs. Returning to El Centro, Mr. Allen en- 
gaged in the real estate and loan business, which has been profitable. 
Fraternally he is a member of the I. O. O. F. of Riverside, California. 
In politics he is a Democrat. Mr. Allen was twice married, the first 
union being to Miss Bell Funk, of Sullivan County, Indiana. To this 
union were born two daughters, Erma, wife of James Garrison of Car- 
lisle, Indiana, and Harriett, a graduate of the University of California, 
wife of James C. Bradley, of Ceres, California. The second mar- 
riage took place in September, 1899, and five children have been born 
to this union: Arthur L., Goldie R., Helen, Eva and Woodrow Mar- 



shall. Mr. Allen's great-grandfather was Ethan Allen, of Revolution- 
ary fame, and on his mother's side was the Warren family of Vermont, 
also of Revolutionary fame. 

GEORGE W. ANDERSON. — Energy and progressive spirit have 
brought George W. Anderson to a position of prominence and dis- 
tinction among the representative men of Imperial County. He is presi- 
dent of the Imperial Valley Hardware Company in El Centro, and has 
had that office since the amalgamation of the El Centro Hardware & 
Implement Company and the Anderson & Meyer Company, January 
i, 1913. Mr. Anderson was born in St. Marys, Kansas, August 26, 
1882, a son of George F. and Louise O. (Fletcher) Anderson. His 
father was identified with the hardware and furniture business at St. 
Marys, Kansas, for many years. He was one of the pioneers of that 
locality and was numbered among the substantial and representative 
men of his day. The father of Mr. Anderson passed away in 1902 and 
his mother died in 1917. George W., the subject of this review, received 
his education at the Washburn College at Topeka, and received the 
degree of B. S. Socially he is a member of the Phi Delta Theta, a col- 
lege fraternity. In 1904 he came to California and located in San Diego 
for a few months, then went to Alaska, where he followed mining for 
a time. This venture proved partially successful, but he did not care 
to remain in Alaska long, and returned to San Diego, where he en- 
gaged with the firm of Samuel Gordon-Ingle company, later known as 
Hazard-Gould Company. Under Hazard-Gould Company, Mr. Ander- 
son became manager of the wholesale department. Later he and Mr. 
Howard P. Meyer came to the Imperial Valley and purchased the 
hardware and grocery store of King L. Kendle of Holtville, forming 
the Anderson & Meyer Company on June 30, 1908. February, 1909, 
they purchased the hardware and furniture store of G. W. McCollum 
at Calexico, where Mr. Anderson remained for three and one-half 
years. After the consolidation of the Anderson & Meyer Company and 
the El Centro Hardware Company, Mr. Anderson moved to El Centro 
and became president and general manager of the Imperial Valley 
Hardware Company. This firm now operates seven stores in the Valley. 
Fraternally Mr. Anderson is affiliated with the Masonic Order. He is a 
thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason and a Knight Templar, and 



a member of the Shrine. He is also a member of the El Centro Cham- 
ber of Commerce. Mr. Anderson was united in marriage in Los Ange- 
les March 15, 191 3, to Miss Edith Mae Cliff, a daughter of John C 
Cliff, who was largely identified with the livestock business for many 
years, and now retired. The ancestors of both Mr. and Mrs. Anderson 
are of colonial stock. In business Mr. Anderson has the confidence and 
esteem of those with whom he has been associated and of all who 
are in any way connected with him. 

ADOLPHUS M. SHENK.— The opening of the Imperial Valley 
brought settlers from every state of the union : north, south and east 
contributing to the citizenship of the fertile section. Adolphus M. 
Shenk, one of the men who has participated in the transformation of 
this region, the development of which seems almost magical, has by his 
own efforts and abilities overcome the difficulties atendant upon the 
settlement of a new community, and by his industry, perseverance and 
capacity for affairs of breadth and importance, has worked his way to 
a position of prominence and is recognized as one of the important 
and representative business men of Imperial County. His birth oc- 
curred in Omaha, Nebraska, January 12, 1882, a son of John W. and 
Susan C. (Brooks) Shenk. His father is a native of New York State, 
while his mother was born in New Jersey. The parents of Adolphus M. 
were married in Cape May, New Jersey, October 27, 1867, and their 
golden wedding anniversary was celebrated in Pasadena at the home 
of his son, Hon. John W. Shenk, Superior Judge of Los Angeles, Cali- 
fornia. There were in attendance four sons and two daughters. The 
father of the subject of this review was born in Cobleskill, Schoharie 
County, New York, January 20, 1842. His wife was Susanna Cane 
Brooks, and she was born in Tuckahoe, Cape May County, New Jersey, 
February 25, 1844, an( i married by Rev. William A. Brooks, Mrs. 
Shenk's father. She was always very active in missionary work and 
she was state organizer of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society 
of the Methodist Church in Nebraska. Mr. Shenk's father is a gradu- 
ate of the Garrett Biblical Institute, Northwestern University, 1865, 
and received the degree of B. D., in 1865. He was sent to South Ameri- 
ca and from 1866 to 1867 he was junior pastor of the M. E. Church of 
Buenos Aires. He held many important offices in the church in different 


parts of the country. He was editor of the Omaha Christian Advocate 
in 1899. He received the degree of doctor of divinity from Nashville, 
Tennessee, in 1889. His literary productions include "Higher Criticism 
and the Christ," published in New York in 1906. Mr. Shenk was spend- 
ing the winter in Los Angeles of 1899-1900. In April of 1900 he and 
his wife, accompanied by Sam Ferguson, a real estate man, took the 
Southern Pacific train for the Imperial Valley. They drove from Flow- 
ing Well and crossed the Colorado Desert and camped forty miles 
from the railroad, where Calexico is located, the next day. Rev. Shenk 
took up sixteen hundred acres of land, a half section for himself and 
wife and his three sons, being the first locators of government land in 
Imperial Valley. Adolphus M. acquired his education in the public and 
high schools of Omaha, after which he took a business course, graduat- 
ing from the latter. He took up stenography and followed office work 
two years. January 12, 1901, he came to Imperial Valley and settled on 
his land where he became identified with ranching, turning the first 
water on lands for the purpose of irrigation and growing the first 
crops. Mr. Shenk served on the school board and as a city trustee. He 
took an active part in creating the County of Imperial. He is now iden- 
tified with the business interests of Calexico and maintains an office in 
the postoffice building and specializes in real estate, farming and loans. 
Mr. Shenk was united in marriage to Bernice B. Riddle of Santa Rosa, 
California. To this union have been born two children, Joyce and 
Janet. Mrs. Shenk takes an active part in the social circles of Calexico, 
and is a member of Eastern Star and the Improvement Club of Calex- 
ico. Mr. Shenk has the distinction of being the second postmaster ap- 
pointed in Calexico, and served in this capacity for five years. He was 
manager for two years of a general merchandise store and since his 
retirement from the store has engaged in the general brokerage busi- 
ness and handles a large percentage of the loans of Imperial Valley. 
Fraternally Mr. Shenk is affiliated with the Masonic Order, being a 
member of Blue Lodge and Chapter. He is also a member of the I. O. 
O. F. Lodge. 

PRESTON B. FULLER, proprietor of the King Cotton Hotel at Im- 
perial, came to the Valley in 1903, and being possessed of progressive 
ideas, has managed his hotel in such a way that it has been a success- 



ful venture. Mr. Fuller has been proprietor since November 15, 1917. 
He was born near Topeka, Kansas, January 25, 1865, son of Johnson 
M. and Mary (Coaley) Fuller. The parents of Mr. Fuller were among 
the sturdy pioneers who located near Topeka in the early days. Both 
parents are deceased and are buried in Kansas. The family are of Eng- 
lish origin, and came to America at a very early date. Mr. Fuller's 
father and two brothers, Perry and Daniel, fought in the Civil war for 
four years. Preston B., the subject of this review, received a limited 
education. He assisted on the home place and attended the district 
school of Cherokee County. He remained at home until 1888. He then 
prospected in Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and California, and practi- 
cally followed this life until 1891. He prospected in the desert counties 
of California from 1903 to 191 1. He then took up one hundred and 
sixty acres of land at Corizo Creek, and his land is the only holding 
in the Valley which has a running stream of water. This is on the 
route of the old Butterfield stage route and part of the old adobe station 
is still standing. This old station was quite a noted stopping place in 
the old days. Mr. Fuller is fortunate in having this stream of water, as 
the place is self-supporting as far as water is concerned. Mr. Fuller 
is identified with the stock business. Politically he is a Republican. Mr. 
Fuller's ranch is noted for its hospitality. He never charges the weary 
traveler who may stop there, and many a man has been spared his 
life after a long journey over the desert by stopping here. Mr. Fuller 
is held in high esteem by all who know him. 

ROGER MERRITT LINEKIN was born at Vineland, New Jersey, 
March 16, 1880, a son of Orlando and Julia (Merritt) Linekin. His 
father followed the seas and for many years was a sea captain and 
followed this vocation practically all his life. He was in the merchant 
marine service and visited many countries, now residing in New York. 
The family is of old American descent, but originally came to this 
country from France. Roger M. acquired his education in the public 
schools of New Jersey. Early in life he learned the shoe manufacturing 
business, which he followed for seventeen years. Coming to California, 
Mr. Linekin found employment with the Sperry Flour Company of 
Los Angeles, where he remained for nearly four years. In 1914 Mr. 
Linekin removed to El Centro and purchased the Suitotorium, which 


business he has since conducted with gratifying success. Politically he 
is a Republican. Fraternally he is a member of the M. W. O. A. Mr. 
Linekin married at Vineland, New Jersey, April 9, 1903, Miss Gertrude 
McAlister, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William H. McAlister, both 
deceased and buried in Bridgetown, New Jersey. To Mr. and Mrs. 
Linekin was born one daughter, born at Camden, New Jersey, Novem- 
ber 18, 1907. 

HERMAN J. SCHITTERER, numbered among the enterprising and 
prosperous business men of Imperial County, is the name that heads 
this review. He was born in San Diego, California, December 31, 1891, 
a son of Herman and Elizabeth (Newcomb) Schitterer, who reside in 
San Diego, his father being one of the representative business men of 
that city. Herman J. acquired his education in the public schools of San 
Diego. At an early age he learned the jewelry manufacturing trade, 
which vocation he has always followed. When Mr. Schitterer came to 
El Centro it was impossible to secure a location, and when the annex 
to the Armstead Building was completed he secured a location. After 
being in El Centro one week he secured a room five feet wide to com- 
mence business. With a small capital Mr. Schitterer commenced busi- 
ness and now his business has increased to one of the important indus- 
tries of El Centro, for he is the only jewelry manufacturer in the 
Valley. He does a wholesale as well as retail business, and he is fav- 
orably known as one who can produce exclusive designs and produc- 
tions in his chosen field. Fraternally he is a member of Sunset Lodge, 
I. O. O. F., of San Diego, California. 

NOLES JAMES MORIN has been an important factor in the busi- 
ness life of Brawley since 191 1. He was born in Chatham, Ontario, No- 
vember 15, 1874, son of Lucian and Catherine Morin. His father was 
a native of Canada and his mother came from Canada. The parents re- 
moved to Kansas when Noles was very young. He was reared and 
attended the public school. He learned the blacksmith trade partially 
with his father during his boyhood days, and finished his trade in the 
railroad shops of the Santa Fe and Union Pacific railroads. Mr. 
Morin started a shop and it has increased in volume of business until 
he now has one of the largest and best equipped plants in the Im- 



perial Valley. He does general blacksmith work and specializes in au- 
tomobile repairing. He was married in Prescott, Arizona, to Nellie 
Sanderfur, December 29, 1907, a daughter of Allen and Jane Sander- 
fur. Mr. Morin has a ten acre orange grove in Monrovia, California, 
which has been brought up to a high state of cultivation. Fraternally 
he is a member of the Masonic Lodge of Brawley and holds member- 
ship in the B. P. O. E. of Prescott, Arizona. Mr. Morin's parents are 
both deceased; his father died in 1909, and his mother passed away in 
July, 1916; both are buried in Salina, Kansas. Mrs. Morin's mother 
died in July, 191 7, and her father died in 1908; both are buried in 
Monrovia, California. 

JAMES DUVAL PHELAN, Democrat, native of San Francisco, grad- 
uated from St. Ignatius University with degree of A. B. ; honorary de- 
gree Ph. D. Santa Clara University ; studied law University of Califor- 
nia; was vice-president of California World's Columbian Commission, 
1893 ; elected three times mayor of San Francisco, 1897-1902 ; after San 
Francisco disaster was president of relief and Red Cross fund ; served 
as regent of the University of California; member of library trustees 
and park commission ; chairman charter association which gave new 
charter to San Francisco ; president adornment association which pro- 
cured the Burnham plans for that city ; member of the Society of Cali- 
fornia Pioneers ; president of the hall association of the Native Sons of 
the Golden West ; president of the Mutual Savings Bank, and director 
in the First National Bank and First Federal Trust Co. of San Francis- 
co. He received complimentary vote for United States Senator in the 
California Legislature in 1900; was commissioned by appointment of 
State Department to Europe, 191 3, on behalf of the United States Gov- 
ernment to support the invitation of the President to foreign countries 
to participate in the Panama-Pacific Exposition ; in December, 1914, 
was appointed by State Department, under special authority from the 
President, to investigate the fitness of the American minister to the 
Dominican Republic ; was nominated in Democratic primaries August, 
1914, as party candidate for the United States Senate by popular elec- 
tion ; elected November of the same year, receiving a plurality of 25,000 
votes, carrying 39 counties to his opponents' 19. His term of service will 
expire March 3, 1921. Address, 2249 R Street, Washington, D. C. ; Phe- 



Ian Building, or residence, 2150 Washington Street, San Francisco; 
country residence. Villa Montalvo, Saratoga, Santa Clara County, Cal. 

EDWARD E. WILLIAMS is numbered among the substantial busi- 
ness men of Brawley, California, and is engaged in the business of sell- 
ing new and second-hand furniture. He has since the start been doing 
a profitable business. Mr. Williams was born in Canada, March 5, 
1879, son of Thomas and Maria Williams. He attended the public 
schools in Canada and after finishing his schooling he followed farm- 
ing until he was twenty-seven years of age. For six years he followed 
carpenter work after coming to the coast. In 1915 he returned to Canada 
owing to his mother's death, and then returned to Ontario, California, 
where he engaged in the furniture business. Mr. Williams removed his 
stock from Ontario to Brawley, where he has since remained. Mr. Wil- 
liams was married December 25, 1902, to Miss Lula M. Gidney, a na- 
tive of Canada. To this union have been born seven children: Edna L., 
Clarence Edward, Frank George Earl, Harold Alvin, Rodger Ray, 
Marvin Lewis and Elva Alice. Fraternally Mr. Williams is a member of 
the Yeomen Lodge of Brawley. The family are members of the Free 
Methodist Church. 

DR. JOSEPH A. MILLER.— A man of vigorous mentality and of 
great versatility of talent, Dr. Joseph A. Miller, of Brawley, California, 
has now a position of note among the leading members of the medical 
profession of England, Canada and the United States, his professional 
knowledge and ability being recognized and appreciated. Dr. Miller was 
born in Toronto, Canada, September 3, 1829. He acquired his educa- 
tion in Toronto, Canada, attending the Toronto University and Liter- 
ary College. He studied medicine and practiced in London, Toronto 
and Hamilton, Canada. He came to the coast in 1853, where he prac- 
ticed. He spent some years in British Columbia and the Arctic region. 
Dr. Miller was united in marriage in Paso Robles, California, Septem- 
ber 3, 1889, to Charlotte Angieline Wood, daughter of Benjamin and 
Charlotte Wood. Her father was a native of Illinois, and he came to 
California overland in 1857. On the trip across the plains the Indians 
attacked the caravan about 100 miles north of Salt Lake City. In the 
fight which ensued Mr. Wood and his brothers, James and William, 



were wounded. There were eight men and two women in the party. 
The wife and daughter of James Wood were killed and five head of 
mules were taken by the Indians. Mrs. Miller's father settled in Con- 
tra Costa County from 1857 to 1862. He later removed to Haywards 
and then went to Monterey, where he remained twenty years. Dr. Mil- 
ler resided in Monterey, California, from 1889 to 1899, when he re- 
moved to Sonoma County, where he practiced his profession for five 
years. In 1905 he removed to Brawley and practiced with gratifying 
success until 1910, when he retired owing to his health. Mrs. Miller 
has been conspicuous in the W. C. T. U. work in the Valley for a num- 
ber of years and was the founder of the work here. She served as 
president of that body for eight years. She takes an active part in 
church work and has been identified with newspaper work for some 
years in the Valley. Dr. Miller is much esteemed by those who know 
him for the sterling character of his manhood. Mrs. Miller has always 
been prominent in religious work and has countless warm friends in 
the Valley. She taught school in the State for eight years. 

EARL McREYNOLDS has achieved success in life as a result of his 
own efforts, and holds the regard of all with whom he has been thrown 
in contact. He is a native son. His birth occurred in South Pasadena, 
California, September 11, 1886, son of Aaron and Mae McReynolds. 
His father was a native of Canada and his mother was born in Nebras- 
ka. Mr. McReynolds attended the public and high schools of South 
Pasadena, after which he attended business college. He worked for the 
John H. Norton Construction Company, who had the contract for con- 
structing the road-bed for the Salt Lake Railroad from Los Angeles to 
the Utah line. Mr. McReynolds had a clerical position with this firm 
for two years. He then for over four years was identified with the 
Southern Pacific road in the operating department. Resigning his posi- 
tion with the Southern Pacific road, he went with the Tonopah and 
Goldfield Railroad for one year, in the operating department. He then 
became identified with the Wells Fargo Express Company, working in 
California and Nevada up to 1913, when he became associated with the 
Brawley Hardware Company. This firm was taken over by the Imperial 
Valley Hardware Company, and Mr. McReynolds still holds his posi- 
tion with this firm. Politically he is a Democrat. He is a member of the 



Water and Fire Commission. Fraternally he is a member of the 
Knights of Pythias lodge of Brawley. Mr. McReynolds was united in 
marriage to Miss Theresa Polsie, of Santa Ana, California, October 31, 

WILLIAM HENRY BEST.— A highly esteemed and respected citizen 
of Brawley, William Henry Best is eminently worthy of special men- 
tion in the first history of Imperial County. Few of the pioneers of the 
county met with such success as fell to the portion of Mr. Best, who is 
now the owner of the finest property in the county, consisting of 320 
acres, which has been brought up to a high state of cultivation. Pos- 
sessed of progressive ideas, energy and enterprise, he made his ventures 
a success. William H. Best is the senior member of the firm of Best, 
DeBlois and Covington, and came to the county in March, 1904. He 
purchased a half section in No. 4, and a half section in No. 5 ; about 
three years later he invested in stock of the Imperial Valley Savings 
Bank, and in 1912 he was appointed vice-president. He has served as 
president of Water Company No. 4 for the past seven years, and has 
been identified as chairman of the advisory board of the Imperial 
County Water Companies for a period of two years, and is still serv- 
ing as chairman of that board. Mr. Best was born in Port Williams, 
Nova Scotia, September 28, 1865, son of Newton W. and Anna C. 
(Holmes) Best. Mr. Best's father resides in Turlock, California, and is 
79 years of age. His mother died December 12, 1912, and is buried in 
Santa Ana. Mr. Best received his education in the California schools, 
having accompanied his parents to this State via the Panama route. He 
assisted on the home place at Santa Ana until he was of age. He then 
went to Beaumont, California, where he purchased land and rented 
more and engaged in the livestock business. Here he remained until 
1894. He then returned to Orange County and rented land. Later he 
purchased a ranch and remained at Tustin until he removed to Imperial 
County. In politics Mr. Best is a Republican. Fraternally he is a mem- 
ber of the I. O. O. F. lodge. He was married at Redlands, California, 
December 27, 1892, to Miss Anna Covington, daughter of Peter H. and 
Martha A. Covington. Her father's death occurred in 1917, at the age 
of seventy-one, and her mother resides at Santa Ana, California. To 
Mr. and Mrs. Best have been born two children — Hallie M., born Jan- 



uary 23, 1894, wife of Dr. R. O. Thompson of Imperial, California, 
and Arthur L., born April 5, 1901, attending the Northwestern Military 
Academy. Mr. Best has had considerable experience in placing loans in 
the Valley, and has been actively engaged in the real estate business for 
the past six years. His motto appears to be "First know the land, then 
tell the truth." That Mr. Best knows Imperial Valley land is a well- 
known fact to all of his business associates. There is probably not an- 
other man in the district so well acquainted with soil conditions in the 
Valley as Mr. Best. At a time when money was scarcer than overcoats 
in Imperial Valley, Mr. Best made two trips to Washington for the 
purpose of getting government aid for building a levee in Mexico and 
succeeded in getting it. 

C. ORSMOND BULLIS.— One of the commanding figures in the 
agricultural life of Imperial County is C. Orsmond Bullis, of El Cen- 
tro. He has made steady progress towards prominence and is today 
largely connected with the agricultural interests of Imperial County. 
He is associated with H. H. Timken, the famous roller-bearing man, 
as secretary-treasurer and manager of the Timken Ranch Company. 
This million dollar concern owns four thousand acres of highly culti- 
vated land, and has other financial interests in Imperial County. The 
Timken Ranch Company is numbered among the most prosperous 
and enterprising concerns in California. The management of its inter- 
ests here stands high among the far-sighted, energetic men who are 
rendering such material assistance in developing and advancing the 
agricultural prosperity of this section of California. Mr. Bullis has been 
and is today in a large measure instrumental in making that concern 
what it is, one of the most flourishing and substantial ranch companies 
in the state. He was born at Sheldon, Iowa, January 10, 1883, a son of 
Charles Henry and Mary L. (Barrett) Bullis, both deceased. Mr. Bul- 
lis' grandmother, on his father's side, was Lydia P. Lapham. The Lap- 
ham family has been one of prominence and influence in America since 
the colonial epoch in our national history. The family genealogy dates 
back to John Lapham, who was born in 1635 and is of English descent. 
Among his descendants many notables were in the family, and among 
the more recent members may be mentioned Susan B. Anthony and 
Hetty Green. C. Orsmond Bullis acquired his education in the public 



and high schools of Sheldon, Iowa, graduating from the latter in 1899. 
He entered the Ohio Wesleyan University and received the B. A. de- 
gree in 1913. After several years of active business life he again en- 
tered college in 191 1 and graduated with the class of 1912, Yale Col- 
lege. He took a short farm course in Cornell University. During his 
early business career he was identified with the International Harvest- 
er Company and later with the loan department of the Northwestern 
Mutual Life Insurance Company, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at its 
Sheldon, Iowa, office. After being associated with this concern for some 
time he accepted a position as cashier in the freight department of the 
C, St. P., M. & O. Ry. of the Northwestern Line at Sheldon, Iowa. 
He was afterwards made assistant agent at Mitchell, South Dakota, 
and later chief clerk to the general freight agent at Sioux City, Iowa. 
After three years Mr. Bullis severed his connection with the railroad 
with which he had filled these positions with marked ability. From 
1907 to 191 1 he engaged in the real estate business and at the same 
time managed his own farm interests at Benson, Minnesota. From the 
fall of 1912 to 1914 he was identified with the San Diego Securities 
Company of San Diego, California, after which he became Imperial 
Valley loan agent for H. H. Timken. When the Timken Ranch Com- 
pany was organized in 1915 he was made secretary-treasurer and man- 
ager. Fraternally he is a member of the Knights of Pythias Lodge and 
the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. He has recently been appointed a 
member of the farm labor committee of the State Council of Defense. 

PHILO JONES. — The career of Philo Jones of Brawley is one which 
clearly defines his position as one of the progressive and representative 
business men of Imperial County. He has paved the way for many im- 
portant enterprises which meant success for the city of Brawley. Mr. 
Jones was born on his father's farm near Davis, Macomb County, 
Michigan, January 22, 1873, son of David T. and Lavina (Sutliff) 
Jones. His father was a native of Wales, while his mother was born in 
New York State. In 1883 Mr. Jones' parents removed to Ontario, Cali- 
fornia, when he was ten years of age. He attended the public schools 
and later entered the Chafey Preparatory School of Ontario, gradu- 
ating in 1893. He also attended the University of Southern California. 
In 1897 ne became receiver for the Union Iron Works of Los Angeles 



for one year, and for two years was identified with the Printers' Supply 
business, having the position as inside manager. Leaving this position he 
was connected with the Salinas Water, Light & Power Company as 
superintendent for a period of nearly three years. While attending the 
University of Southern California, he was editor of the University 
Courier for three years, and published the first junior annual of that in- 
stitution. Mr. Jones was identified with other public utility companies. 
He served as general manager of the Santa Maria Electric Company 
during construction work, and was associated with the Pacific Electric 
Company of Los Angeles as beach manager at Playa del Rey for over 
one year. In June, 1907, Mr. Jones removed to Brawley and took charge 
of the Brawley Town and Improvement Company. He has been asso- 
ciated with many leading ventures in the Valley since locating in Braw- 
ley. He has taken an active part in the early political history of the Val- 
ley, and registers as a Republican. In 1913, Mr. Jones engaged in the 
general brokerage business. He makes a specialty of farm loans and 
insurance. He was united in marriage to Miss Myrtle Hillen Nance of 
Santa Maria, California, August 4, 1909. To this union has been born 
one daughter — Margaret Jeanette, born September 29, 191 1. The father 
of Mrs. "Jones, Thomas Nance, was among the first pioneers, and he 
put in the first crop in the Santa Maria Valley. His death occurred in 
1915, at the age of eighty years. Mrs. Jones' mother resides in Santa 
Maria. Mr. Jones was appointed justice of the peace in May, 1915; 
this office he still holds to the satisfaction of all. He was city recorder 
for several years and resigned in 1917. Fraternally Mr. Jones is affili- 
ated with the Masonic lodge of Brawley, and is Past Master of his 
lodge. Mr. and Mrs. Jones are prominent in church work and hold 
membership in the Methodist church. She is also president of the Gram- 
mar School Board. 

WILL S. SWEET is one of the representative business men of Braw- 
ley. He was born in Franklin County, Iowa, June 23, 1878, son of Olney 
F. and Helen M. Sweet, both natives of Pennsylvania. Mr. Sweet ac- 
quired his education in the public and high schools of his native coun- 
ty. He afterwards studied dentistry, attending the Milwaukee Dental 
College, graduating in 1905. Mr. Sweet came west and practiced his 
profession in Long Beach, California, for a period of three years. In 


1909 he removed to Brawley and engaged in farming on the west side, 
and had one hundred acres under cultivation. He did general farming 
and was identified in the dairy business. In 1916 Mr. Sweet engaged in 
the bakery business with A. S. Wolfe. He has been identified as a direc- 
tor on No. 8 water board for some years. He now leases his ranch and 
gives his entire time to promoting the interests of his business. He was 
married July 10, 1908, to Miss Irene E. Wheelock, a native of Iowa, 
and daughter of George H. Wheelock. Mrs. Sweet's parents came to 
Imperial County at an early date and her father, now deceased, was 
connected with the Southern Pacific Railroad as telegraph operator. To 
Mr. and Mrs. Sweet have been born one son, George Olney, born 
March 31, 1912. The father of Mr. Sweet fought in the Civil war, and 
Mrs. Sweet's father was also a Civil war veteran. The subject of this 
review served as a volunteer in the Spanish American war for six 
months, and was attached to the $2d Iowa Infantry, and was mustered 
out October 25, 1908. Mr. Sweet is held in high regard by his business 
associates in Brawley. 

HOWARD SHORES. — The changes that have taken place in Imperial 
County since the arrival of Howard Shores, are many, and they have 
been brought about by the enterprising methods and energetic activities 
of just such men as Mr. Shores. He was born in Jonesboro, Craighead 
County, Arkansas, July 28, 1885, son of Levi and Ola Shores, both na- 
tives of Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Shores acquired his education in the pub- 
lic schools of his native State and later attended college in Arkadel- 
phia and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Mr. Shores joined 
the National Guard, serving two years. For a time he was a guard at 
the St. Louis Exposition, and in January, 1905, the parents removed to 
California and were identified with the hotel business for a period of 
ten years. Previous to locating in Brawley, Mr. Shores made several 
trips to the Valley, and in 1914 he engaged in the gents' furnishing 
business with his brother, Gus B. Mr. Shores purchased a ranch of 
forty acres two miles from Brawley, where he made his home until the 
spring of 1918. Mr. Shores' brother is a well-known business man of 
Los Angeles. He was identified with and was manager of the rug de- 
partment of A. J. Sloan, and for some time was associated with the 
Goodwin and Jenkins Furniture Company. He also had charge of the 



rug department for that concern. November 2, 1917, he enlisted in the 
U. S. Army and at the present writing he is stationed at American 
Lake, Washington. Both brothers are members of the B. P. O. E. lodge 
of El Centro. Mr. Shores' mother is deceased and his father resides in 
Arkansas. The subject of this review, with Purl Willis, organized Bat- 
tery D, which was largely made up of Imperial County men. Battery D 
went into the 143rd field artillery and is now stationed at Camp Kearny. 
Fourteen non-commissioned officers and four commissioned officers 
were selected from Imperial County to serve in the 143rd field artillery. 
Mr. Shores, aside from his mercantile business, finds time to look after 
his ranch, which is now leased. It has been set over to grapefruit, dates 
and vegetables. Shores Bros, have shown marked business ability and 
they have the confidence and good-will of their business associates. 

GEORGE W. DONLEY. — Noteworthy among the representative men 
of Imperial County is George W. Donley, one of the earliest settlers 
in the Valley, and since 1901 he has been active in the development of 
this section. He has been identified with the real estate business since 
1908. He owns about 800 acres of land and 400 acres being under cul- 
tivation and devoted to the raising of cotton, corn, alfalfa, asparagus 
and grapes and dairy. Mr. Donley is a native of Hannibal, Missouri, 
and was born March 25, 1857, a son of Noah and Sarah (Hamton) 
Donley. The Donley family located at Hannibal, Missouri, in 1818, 
where Noah Donley was engaged in farming. His death occurred in 
1876. George W. received his education in the schools of his native 
town. He was elected to office as clerk and ex-ofhcio recorder of 
Marion County for two years. He then was in the United States mail 
service for two years. In 1880 he removed to Colorado and embarked 
in the mining and real estate business, where he remained until 1886, 
coming to San Diego and later to Escondido, where in 1887 he married 
Miss Sarah F. Weatherly, daughter of M. Weatherly. In 1901 he was 
one of the first to commence operations in the Imperial Valley. He in- 
duced others to locate here and was active in disposing of water stock. 
Mr. Donley has served as a trustee for Imperial for three years. He 
was instrumental in having sidewalks put in and other improvements. 
He saw the Valley transformed from a desert to a place of great pro- 
ductiveness. He came to Imperial when there were only a few tent 


houses, and El Centro was not on the map, and through his ability 
many leading ventures were put through. His real estate operations 
have always been along strictly legitimate lines, and his business repu- 
tation is without blemish. To Mr. and Mrs. Donley have been born : 
Chester A., who is serving in the United States Army and attached 
to the coast artillery ; Irene is registry clerk in the Imperial postoffice, 
and George is cashier at Varney Brothers. In addition to his large 
ranch holdings, Mr. Donley has much valuable city property. At the 
time he came to Imperial the freighting was done by teams from Old 
Beach and only a substitute was used for the first school house. 

ERNEST C. SCHELLING. — Numbered among the prominent and 
successful business men of Brawley is Ernest C. Schelling, who has 
been identified with the grocery business with Walter S. Campbell since 
1916. Mr. Schelling came to Imperial County in 1909. He was born near 
Ackley, Hardin County, Iowa, July 12, 1874, a son of Joseph and Mary 
(Meyers) Schelling. His parents were among the early settlers in Iowa, 
and his father was one of the pioneer farmers of Hardin County. His 
death occurred in 1916, and was buried in Rockford, Illinois. Mr. 
Schelling's mother passed away in 1896, and is buried in Beeman, 
Iowa. Ernest C. received his education in the public schools of Iowa 
and Illinois; he left high school at the age of seventeen. He then took 
up the study of pharmacy, receiving his diploma as a registered phar- 
macist in the State of Illinois. For six years he was associated with the 
drug business. He then learned the grocery business and in 1909 he 
came to California and located in Brawley, where he found employ- 
ment with Harry Baum. He remained here as manager of the grocery 
department until he purchased the stock of Mr. Baum, with W. S. 
Campbell. The store takes rank with the stores in much larger cities, it 
being the largest in Brawley and is one of the two stores in Imperial 
Valley that had to get a government license. Mr. Schelling and Mr. 
Campbell are recognized as leaders of their line, and their personalities 
enter into every transaction, and the people of Brawley have learned 
that they can depend on the goods as represented. Fraternally Mr. 
Schelling is serving as chancellor commander of the Knights of Pythias 
and is a Blue Lodge Mason. He married at Alden, Iowa, Miss Margaret 
Holmes, August 13, 1894, daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Holmes. 


To this union have been born one daughter, Eleanor, wife of George 
Darnell of Brawley. 

CLARENCE K. CLARKE. — Among the men who by reason of their 
personal integrity and enterprise, have come to be regarded as repre- 
sentative citizens of Imperial Valley is numbered Clarence K. Clarke, 
chief engineer and general manager for the Imperial Irrigation Dis- 
trict, with headquarters in Calexico, California. None are more highly 
esteemed than the subject of this narrative. Mr. Clarke was born in 
Lewis County, Washington, December 5, 1859, a son of Fred A. and 
Eunice A. (Stillman) Clarke. On his mother's side the family dates 
back to Revolutionary stock and the ancestors on his father's side are 
of English extraction. Mr. Clarke acquired his education in the public 
and high schools of Portland, Oregon. Finishing his education he be- 
came identified with the Northern Pacific in the civil engineer depart- 
ment, where he remained for some years. He later went with the Ore- 
gon Pacific and the Southern Pacific in the various engineering depart- 
ments. He was division engineer for five years of the Tucson division, 
and upon leaving that post he became identified with and had charge 
and direction of the forces in the closure of the Colorado River from 
December 21, 1906, to February 10, 1907. After the closure of the 
river Mr. Clarke took an active part in 1907 in restoring the canal sys- 
tem, and from here he was transferred to the Coast Division as divi- 
sion engineer. In 1909 he returned to the Valley and became superin- 
tendent of Number One Irrigation District. Resigning this office, he 
accepted the position as assistant general manager of the C. D. Com- 
pany, W. H. Holabird, receiver. Mr. Clarke resigned and on April 1, 
191 1, was made superintendent and chief engineer for the Palo-Verde 
Mutual Water Company, from January 1, 1913, to July, 1914. He 
served as city manager of Tucson, 1915-1916. He then accepted the 
position of chief engineer of this district in 1917. Fraternally Mr. 
Clark is a member of the B. P. O. E. No. 476 of Yuma, Arizona. He 
is also a member of the Masonic Lodge, holding membership in Corin- 
thian Blue Lodge No. 38, of Puyallup, Washington, Scottish Rite Con- 
sistory Number 5 of San Francisco, and Al Malaikah Shrine of Los 
Angeles. Mr. Clarke was united in marriage July 6, 1901, to Miss Lo- 
retta Graydon, a native of Globe, Arizona. One daughter has blessed 



this union, Loretta L., born May 26, 1902. Politically Mr. Clarke is 
registered as a Republican, but can always be depended upon to sup- 
port the man and not the party, and he has never aspired to office. Mr. 
Clarke is progressive in citizenship and has gained the confidence, good 
will and esteem of all who have been in any way associated with him. 

THOMAS J. McNERNY stands foremost among the men of Imperial 
County and possesses the universal respect and esteem of his fellow- 
townsmen. Mr. McNerny was born in Cory, Pennsylvania, June 2, 
1879, a son of Thomas and Delia (Garvey) McNerny, residents of 
Horton, Kansas. His father for many years was identified with rail- 
road contracting, and is now retired. Thomas J. acquired his education 
in the public and high schools of Horton, Kansas, and later graduated 
from St. Mary's College in 1894 with the degree of A. B. He was 
identified with the Rock Island Railroad as accountant at Horton, Kan- 
sas, and Colorado Springs until 1904, when he engaged in the drug 
business at Horton, Kansas. This business he carried on successfully 
for five years. In 191 1, he became part owner in the Farmers' State 
Bank at Gage, Oklahoma, remaining in the banking business until 1912, 
when he came to California and located in Brawley. In October, 1915. 
Mr. McNerny took the office as secretary of Water Company Number 
8, and has held that position up to the present time. Mr. McNerny has 
a comfortable ranch of forty acres near Brawley, and has a one-half 
interest in a 320-acre ranch. Fraternally he is a member of the B. P. 
O. E. He was united in marriage to Miss Lela O'Roke August 30, 
1910, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles O'Roke, both residents of 
Fairview, Kansas. To Mr. and Mrs. McNerny have been born one son 
and one daughter, Helen Joy and Robert Thomas. 

LESLIE REED is a man who has by his own energy and ambition and 
enterprise, guided by sound and practical judgment, worked his way 
upward to a place among the representative attorneys of Southern 
California. He was born in Kansas City, Missouri, February 1, 1889, 
a son of Winfield Scott and Edith (Bourdon) Reed. Leslie Reed ac- 
quired his education in the public and high schools, graduating from 
the Kansas City High School in 1906. He afterwards attended the Kan- 
sas University, graduating from that college in 1910, and received the 



liberal arts degree. He attended the Kansas City Law School, gradu- 
ating in 1912. He commenced to practice his profession in Kansas City 
and remained there until 1913, when he removed to Calexico, Califor- 
nia. He at once began the practice of law with gratifying success. 
Fraternally he is affiliated with the I. O. O. F. of Kansas City. Mr. 
Reed is held in high esteem by his associates by reason of his enter- 
prise and sterling personal worth. 

JOHN W. GOZA. — Prominently connected with the business interests 
of El Centro is John W. Goza. The opportunities that are offered in 
Imperial County to men of enterprise are nowhere better exemplified 
than in the successful career of Mr. Goza. He was born in Jackson, 
Missouri, February 3, 1876, a son of Wiley and Caroline (Roberts) 
Goza. The subject of this review acquired his education in the public 
and high schools of his native town. He graduated from high school in 
1897. He then went to St. Louis, Missouri, and entered the business 
college of Bryant & Stratton. Here he remained one year. His first 
business venture was with the Hamlinton Brown Shoe Company, where 
he remained for one year as stenographer. He then took the position 
with the Brown Shoe Company as bill clerk, and here he remained for 
over five years. Having acquired the knowledge of the shoe business, 
he took charge of a shoe store at 822 Olive Street, St. Louis, Missouri. 
He was tendered a position on the road traveling for the National Cash 
Register Company of Dayton, Ohio, and later he traveled for the 
American Multigraph Company, being transferred to Dallas, Texas. 
He remained in the capacity of traveling salesman until November 1, 
1908, when he was promoted to manager of the Kansas City, Missouri, 
branch, where he resigned and became identified with the Multi-Color 
Press Company of San Francisco. Here he remained for a brief period. 
The first of the following year he became associated with the Compto- 
graph Adding Machine Company, remaining for eleven months. In 
191 1 Mr. Goza engaged with the Underwood Typewriter Company as 
salesman and remained with this concern until May, 1912, and later he 
became associated with the Royal Typewriter Company until he came 
to El Centro, California, and opened a store for his company, dealing 
in new and rebuilt typewriters. March 1, 1917, he purchased the sta- 
tionery store which he operates in conjunction with his other business. 



Fraternally he is a member of the Masonic Lodge and the K. of P. 
of El Centro. Mr. Goza was married in St. Louis, Missouri, March 29, 
1909, to Miss Charlotte Sauerbrunn, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Sauer- 
brunn. Her father is a prominent contractor of that city. Mr. and Mrs. 
Goza have one daughter, Jane E., and the family resides at 653 Heil 
Street, where they enjoy in a full measure the acquaintance of a large 
circle of friends. 

WILLIAM J. PHILLIPS. — One of the most able, progressive and en- 
terprising business men of Imperial County is William J. Phillips, who 
has been successfully identified with business interests of Calexico 
since August 1, 1916. Mr. Phillips was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, 
October 28, 1876. He acquired his education in the public and high 
schools of Omaha, Nebraska. His parents removed to Los Angeles, 
California, where William J. became identified with the drug business 
until 1902, when he went to Douglas, Arizona, and followed the same 
vocation for one year. He then went to Cananea, Mexico, where he took 
charge of three stores. Here he remained for a period of five years. 
He removed then to Guaymas, Mexico, and was identified with the 
wholesale and retail drug business for seven years. For two years while 
a resident of Guaymas he acted as consular agent, and, owing to the 
revolution, he came to Calexico, which was August 1, 1916. Mr. Phil- 
lips took an interest in the Aiken Drug Store and acted as secretary 
and general manager. On November 15, 1917, he purchased more stock 
in the company and is now the president of the corporation and holds 
a prominent place among the representative business men of his city. 
Fraternally Mr. Phillips is affiliated with the Masonic Lodge of Calex- 
ico. He was united in marriage August 17, 1900, to Miss Magna John- 
son, a native of Denmark. Their two children are: Martha, born Janu- 
ary 4, 1902, and John, born August 17, 1903. Mr. and Mrs. Phillips 
have the esteem and confidence of all who know them. 

ROY R. STILGENBAUR.— One of the essentially representative 
members of the banking interests of Brawley is Roy R. Stilgenbaur, 
assistant cashier of the Imperial Valley Bank since 1913. He came to 
Imperial County in 1909, and is a native of Baltic, Ohio, where he was 
born March 7, 1890, a son of Otto W. and Mary (Bader) Stilgenbaur, 



who have been residents of Canton, Ohio, for over twenty years. The 
subject of this sketch was educated in the public and high schools of 
Canton, graduating from the latter in 1907. He then attended the West- 
ern Reserve University of Cleveland, Ohio, for several years. Coming 
to Brawley while it was in a primitive state, without sidewalks and 
ditch water running in the streets. Where the plaza is situated, he 
became associated with Stahl Brothers, where he remained for two 
years. He then formed a partnership with J. C. Gresser and purchased 
the grocery department of Stahl Brothers. Mr. Stilgenbaur disposed 
of his interest in the store to take up his present position with the bank 
as assistant cashier, where he achieved success from the start. He was 
united in marriage to Miss Grace Clinton in Los Angeles, California, 
July 4, 191 5, and their one daughter, Phyllis, was born September 27, 
1916. Mr. Stilgenbaur is now serving as secretary of the Brawley Mer- 
chants' Association. He is a Royal Prince of El Oasis Temple No. 173, 
Dramatic Order Knights of Khorasson at El Centro, California, and 
served as the first presiding officer of that temple, and has the distinc- 
tion of having been, in 191 1, the youngest chancellor commander of the 
order of Knights of Pythias in the United States. Mr. Stilgenbaur has 
always given his influence in support of any measures that have tended 
to forward the welfare of Brawley and Imperial County. 

WALTER A. COVINGTON is one of the enterprising and enthusi- 
astic real estate men of Imperial County, and is a member of the firm 
of Best, DeBlois and Covington of Brawley since its organization. Mr. 
Covington is a native son and his birth occurred in Redlands, Califor- 
nia, May 6, 1877. He is the son of Peter H. and Martha Covington. His 
father died at the age of seventy-one and was buried in Santa Ana, 
California. Walter A. acquired his education in the public and high 
schools of Redlands. He left school at the age of twenty and took a 
business course. He assisted his father for two years in the furniture 
business and then engaged in the bicycle and sporting goods business, 
which he carried on for a period of four years. For the next eight 
years he was identified with the Union Electrical Company of Trenton, 
New Jersey, and traveled throughout the central states. Returning to 
Santa Ana, he managed his father's ranch for about two years. In Im- 
perial Valley, Mr. Covington then entered into a partnership with his 



brother-in-law, W. H. Best, and engaged in the real estate and loan 
business, until the present firm was organized. Mr. Covington is inter- 
ested with his brothers in seven hundred acres of land in Imperial 
County, which is under cultivation and managed by himself. Mr. Cov- 
ington serves as police commissioner and is a city trustee. His political 
allegiance is with the Democratic party. He was united in marriage at 
Bakersfield, California, with Miss Clara Bell Richardson, November 
13, 1912, a daughter of George and Miley (Hunt) Richardson, a promi- 
nent man and pioneer of Kern County. To Mr. and Mrs. Covington 
has been born one son, Robert Wayne, born September 1, 1913. It was 
while tilling the soil here that Mr. Covington became impressed with 
the land, and he at once invested in agricultural land. From his long 
experience in agriculture in the county, Mr. Covington is in a position 
to talk with authority on soil and crop conditions and he is not the 
man to lead a stranger astray. 

ANDREW C. BASKIN. — Prominent among the business men of Cal- 
exico is Andrew C. Baskin, who is an enterprising and representative 
citizen of that locality. At present he is the manager of the Calexico 
store of the Delta Implement Company, which was established in 1910. 
Mr. Baskin was born in Highland County, Ohio, October 18, 1866. He 
acquired his education in the public schools and attended college for 
two years. His parents removed to Missouri and Andrew C. became 
identified with the McCormick Harvester Company as traveling sales- 
man throughout the western states. He later purchased a ranch in 
eastern Kansas and operated it for four years. Disposing of his ranch 
holdings, he became connected with Edgar Brothers for one year. 
When the present store was started Mr. Baskin took charge, which he 
has conducted to the satisfaction of his company. Four years ago he 
was made a member of the city council. Fraternally he holds member- 
ship in the Masonic Order of Eastern Star. Mr. Baskin was married 
in Ottawa, Kansas, to Mary Ankenny, a native of that state, and to this 
union have been born : Louise, attending school ; Florence, a teacher in 
the Calexico schools ; Eunice, a trained nurse, residing in Los Angeles. 
The Delta Implement Company also maintains a store in El Centro, 
and both stores carry a complete stock of high-class farm machinery, 
wagons and harness. 

xi^^f X? 


FRANK H. STANLEY has given effective service as secretary and 
treasurer of the Brawley National Farm Loan Association since its or- 
ganization in April, 1917. Mr. Stanley was the first to arrive in the 
community of what is now Brawley. He was born at Cardington, Ohio, 
September 14, 1868, and is a son of James M. and Ellen M. (Tucker) 
Stanley. The great-grandfather of Mrs. Stanley was one of the signers 
of the Declaration of Independence. Mr. Stanley served in the Spanish 
American war and his ancestors fought in all the wars, including the 
revolutionary war. His parents were pioneers in Kansas and followed 
agricultural pursuits. Receiving a common school education, Mr. Stan- 
ley started out in life at the age of twenty-one, and came to California 
and located in Bakersfield, where he took charge of his uncle's ranch. 
His uncle, F. H. Colton, was chief engineer of the Kern County Land 
Company and his death occurred three years after. Mr. Stanley had 
been there. Mr. Stanley was promoted and acted as one of the superin- 
tendent of the Kern County Land Company, and held this position for 
a period of ten years. Coming to Imperial Valley, Mr. Stanley was in 
charge of the construction work of the north end of the Valley. He 
continued in this work for four years. He then handled the real estate 
interests for the Imperial Land Company, in conjunction with his own 
realty interests, which he has since carried on. Mr. Stanley was also 
identified with the automobile business and has had large farming inter- 
ests. He organized the first cantaloupe organization of Imperial Valley, 
and he served as the first postmaster of Brawley. In politics Mr. Stan- 
ley is a Republican. Fraternally he is a charter member of the I. O. O. 
F. Mr. Stanley has been active in locating the sites for the erection of 
the various churches in Brawley. Mr. Stanley has the honor of being 
wedded to the first single lady who came to Brawley, Miss Flo Stowe, 
which took place December 3, 1903, a former resident of Los Angeles 
and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. F. Stowe, residents of Washington. 
Mr. Stowe was one of the fourteen who came from Yakima Valley, 
Washington, to Brawley to purchase land. To Mr. and Mrs. Stanley 
have been born two daughters — Alice E., born December 26, 1904, 
and Wilma H., born October 10, 1907. Mr. Stanley erected the Stanley 
Building, one of the first office buildings in Brawley. He also purchased 
the Brawley News after it had just started, and later disposed of the 
paper to its present owner, Mr. Witter. 


PHILIP EDWARD CARR.— The name which heads this review is 
one of the well known men of Imperial County. He is an enterprising, 
progressive and public-spirited man and a prominent factor in the de- 
velopment of business lines in Calexico. Mr. Carr was born in Liberty, 
Montgomery County, Kansas, December g, 1872, a son of Abner and 
Sarah (Teter) Carr, both deceased. There were five children born in 
the family, only two of whom are now living, the subject of this sketch, 
and brother, Albert S., of Calexico. Philip E. attended the public 
schools and the Central Normal College at Great Bend, Kansas, re- 
ceiving the degree of B. S., graduating with the class of 1896. Mr. 
Carr taught school for a period of six years in the public schools of 
Kansas and United States Indian schools of South Dakota, New Mex- 
ico and the Fort Yuma Indian School. When Imperial County was 
created Mr. Carr came to this county and took up one hundred and 
sixty acres of land, which was in 1900. He continued in the Indian 
school at Yuma until 1903, when he resigned his position and moved 
upon his land, and has since been identified with this county. He re- 
mained on his land for a period of eleven years and in 1914 he disposed 
of his ranch holdings and removed to Calexico, where in 1916 he be- 
came identified with O. C. Hathaway in the garage and machine busi- 
ness. The firm erected a modern building, 100 feet square, and have 
the agency for the Studebaker automobile. The firm does a general re- 
pair business and maintains a machine and blacksmith shop, employ- 
ing only expert mechanics. Mr. Carr was united in marriage to Alice 
Bragg, a native of Kansas, March 9, 1897. To this union have been 
born six children, all of whom were born in Imperial County. William 
Lawrence, born July 11, 1900; Edward Everett, born April II, 1902; 
Mary Olive, born September 14, 1903; Sarah Lois, born August 19, 
1905 ; Donald Howard, born March 14, 1908, and James Clifford, May 
31, 1912. The family are members of the Methodist Church of Calex- 
ico. In 1915 Mr. Carr erected the Majestic Theater at a cost of $26,000, 
one of the finest theaters in Southern California. He was appointed 
supervisor for the First District Imperial County by ex-Governor Hi- 
ram Johnson to fill the vacancy caused by the death of John A. Boyce. 
At the general election Mr. Carr was elected to the same office for a 
period of two years, and has since been chosen chairman of the board. 
He has been a member of the board of trustees of the City of Calexico 



for the four-year term. Mrs. Carr is active in church affairs and is a 
member of the Ladies' Aid Society and a member of the W. C. T. V. 
of Imperial County. Mr. Carr is an honorable and upright citizen and 
does much to benefit the community in which he lives. 

GEORGE ANDERSON.— No firm has done more to promote the 
interests of Imperial County than that of McCollough and Anderson 
of Calexico, the members of which are well known citizens of that 
community from the early days. They are doing an extensive business 
in the blacksmith and automobile line. They also do all kinds of farm 
and machinery repairing and make a specialty of new work. Mr. An- 
derson was born in Sweden in 1884, May 20th. He was educated in 
his native land and came to America in 1901, locating in Chicago, Illin- 
ois, where he worked at his trade. In 1903 he came west and located in 
Calexico, where he followed his vocation for some years. In 1914, he 
became connected with Harvey McCollough in business. He has' thirty 
acres near Calexico and one hundred and sixty acres east of Calexico, 
which he disposed of. When the first canals were put through the Val- 
ley Mr. Anderson was identified with Mr. Rockwood and assisted in 
surveying. He was for three years connected with this work. Previous 
to taking an interest with his present partner, Mr. Anderson conducted 
a blacksmith shop and did general repairing and did much work for 
the water company and all over the Valley. The firm are increasing 
their scope of operations as rapidly as possible. 

CEYETANO BELENDEZ.— Prominently identified with the active 
and enterprising business men of Calexico, is Ceyetano Belendez. He 
is a man of ability and is numbered among the substantial men of Im- 
perial County. He is successfully engaged in the Mexican brokerage 
and transfer business, with offices in Calexico. Mr. Belendez acquired 
his education in Mexico. His birth occurred at Laredo, August 14, 
1886. In 1915 he came to Imperial County, engaging in his present busi- 
ness, which has grown to be one of the leading and representative firms 
of Calexico which make a specialty of custom house business. The 
business was incorporated under the laws of California in 1917, and 
Mr. Belendez is president of the corporation. He was united in mar- 
riage to Ernestine Campbell, a native of Mexico, January 4, 1908. To 


this union were born five children: Ygnacio, born February 7, 1909; 
Lidia, born August 3, 1910; Ceyetano, born July 4, 1912; Estella, born 
March 31, 1914, and Virginia, born February 21, 1917. Mr. Belendez's 
father was a prominent merchant at Laredo for many years. The family 
come from representative stock and date back many years. Mr. Belen- 
dez's mother passed away in March, 1900. 

DAVID ROY KINCAID has been actively and successfully identified 
with the business interests of Calexico since 1915. He was born in 
Illinois, November 6, 1881, and acquired his education in the public and 
high schools of National City, where his parents removed in 1887. Mr. 
Kincaid came to the Imperial Valley in 1903, and followed engineer- 
ing from 1903 to 1914. In 1915 he established the Calexico Lumber 
Company with Harry Schneider. Energy and well-directed ambition, 
guided by sound and practical business judgment, have constituted the 
foundation upon which this firm has built its success. Politically, Mr. 
Kincaid is a Republican. He was united in marriage to Miss Delia 
Barnes of Los Angeles, California, October 26, 1912. Two children 
have been born : Joseph R., born July 17, 1913, and Barbara Lucile, 
born September 1, 1917. Mr. Kincaid is a supporter of public move- 
ments for the betterment of Calexico and Imperial County generally. 

MARCUS W. BATES is a man of genial personality and keen busi- 
ness ability. He is numbered among the representative and enterpris- 
ing business men of Imperial County. His birth occurred in Moline, 
Michigan, April 18, 1878, a son of Ward B. and Emma Bates. Marcus 
W. acquired his education in the public schools of his native town. He 
was actively engaged in the cantaloupe business in Indiana, Alabama 
and Texas, for a period of ten years. Mr. Bates came to California and 
to the Imperial Valley in 1907. He followed the cantaloupe business 
for one year when he became identified with Edgar Brothers for a 
time. He then followed ranching for eighteen months, when he again 
became connected with Edgar Brothers. He was manager of the Seeley 
store for about three years, and in March, 191 5, took the management 
of the Calexico store. Air. Bates was united in marriage to Miss Helen 
Mach of San Diego, California, February 19, 1915. Mr. Bates is well 
and favorably known in the business life of Calexico and Imperial 



Count)', and has gained the good will and esteem of all who have in 
any way been associated with him, both in a business and social way. 

HARRY E. DALY, proprietor of the Brawley Bottling Works, which 
was established November i, 1916, was born in Troy, New York, Octo- 
ber 10, 1878, a son of Judson and Mary Daly. His parents removed to 
the State of Georgia, where Harry E. acquired his education. After fin- 
ishing his schooling. Mr. Daly became connected with the brewery bot- 
tling business for a number of years. To improve his knowledge in this 
particular line he entered Hanky's brewery school and laboratory in- 
stitute. He then took a position with the Milwaukee Waukesha Brewing 
Company, where he remained for a number of years. Then he became 
associated with the Independent Brewing Association. In November, 
1916, he established business in Brawley and during the season of 1917 
he put out 18,000 cases of soft drink beverages, shipped largely through- 
out the Valley. Fraternally Mr. Daly is a member of the Eagles lodge 
of Aberdeen, Washington, where he was identified with the same busi- 
ness. When Mr. Daly was connected with the Milwaukee Waukesha 
Company he cut the cost in 2000-barrel lots from seventy-two cents 
per barrel to forty-three cents. For fifteen years he was secretary of the 
United Brewers' Union of America. Mr. Daly was married to Miss 
Pearl M. Sawyer, a native of Montana, in 1901. Their one son, Harry 
A., was born May 3, 1914. Mr. Daly is a public-spirited man and a loyal 
booster for Imperial Valley. 

BURRE H. LIEN. — The selection of any individual to fill an import- 
ant position is naturally an evidence of that person's ability and effi- 
ciency. Mr. Lien has been appointed, and is now filling the important 
office as receiver of the United States Land Office at El Centro. His 
birth occurred at Spirit Lake, Iowa, December 21, 1859, a son of Hans 
J. and Gertrude Lien. His parents removed to Iowa in 1853 and were 
among the pioneer farmers of that state. Mr. Lien's parents were na- 
tives of Norway. He acquired his education in the public schools and 
later attended the normal school of Mankato, Minnesota. At the age 
of twenty Mr. Lien removed to South Dakota and followed farming. 
He served as deputy county recorder from 1883 to 1886. He served as 
probate judge and from 1886 to 1891 he was county recorder of Brook- 


ings County. Removing to Sioux Falls, he engaged in the real estate 
business. Mr. Lien was elected mayor of Sioux Falls and served for a 
period of two years and during his office he was president of the State 
Board of Charities and Corrections of South Dakota from 1898 to 
1900 He was a nominee in 1900 for the office of governor of his state. 
During his residence in South Dakota Mr. Lien was actively identified 
in making public improvements. He donated what is known as Lien 
Park, which is a very valuable amusement park in Sioux Falls. He fol- 
lowed the real estate husiness previous to coming to Imperial County 
and in 191 1 engaged in that vocation in El Centro, continuing up to 
the time he was appointed receiver of the land office here. In politics 
Mr Lien is a Democrat. Fraternally he is a thirty-second degree Ma- 
son, being a member of the Scottish Rite and a Shriner. While a resi- 
dent of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, he went both ways in Masonry. He 
is a charter member of the Commandery of El Centro. Mr. Lien was 
married at Brookings, South Dakota, May 15, 1881, to Miss Anne Ud- 
seth, a daughter of Louis and Olena Udseth, pioneers of South Dakota, 
both deceased. To Mr. and Mrs. Lien have been born five children : 
George O., born August 9, 1884, a civil engineer with the Southern 
Pacific Railroad and Imperial Irrigation District; Florence, wife of 
Frank A. Fostick, born September 25, 1887, residing in South Dakota; 
Agnes wife of Calvin Mousseau, born February 20, 1889, a resident of 
Minneapolis, Minnesota; Harold V., born February 28, 1891, a member 
of Company H, 364th Infantry; Eva M., born September 26, 1897, a 
student in the State Normal in Los Angeles. Mr. Lien's father fought 
all through the Civil War. 

DAVID W. SNEATH was born in Longmont, Colorado, December 
13, 1887, son of Henry and Mary (Jones)l Sneath. His father was 
identified with the D. & R. G. Railroad for many years. David acquired 
his education in the public schools. He followed ranching for a time. 
He spent eighteen months in Laramie, Wyoming, and in April, 1913, 
he associated himself with the Holton Power Company. He was ad- 
vanced by his company and is now the manager of the ice plant at. 
Calexico. This position he has held for four years to the satisfaction 
of his company. Fraternally Mr. Sneath is affiliated with the I. O. O. F., 
the K. of P. and the Moose lodge of Calexico. He was united in mar- 



riage November 6, 1913, to Miss Bernice Beard, a native of Illinois, 
and daughter of E. C. and Captolia Beard. Socially Mr. and Mrs. 
Sneath are active in club and social affairs in Calexico, and his wife 
is a member of the Rebekah lodge. Mr. Sneath has a small ranch of six 
acres which he has brought up to a high state of cultivation and makes 
a specialty of truck gardening and fruit growing. 

MRS. ELIZABETH STEPHENS.— The Imperial Valley's history 
has been developed by men and women who first settled it ; more pages 
are constantly being added by the same pioneers and by others who 
have come later. It is to the agriculturists of this community that the 
growth and development of this section is due. Prominent among the 
residents of Seeley is Mrs. Elizabeth Stephens, who owns three hun- 
dred and twenty acres of land. Her husband, Isaac W. Stephens, died 
July 11, 1906, and was buried in the family cemetery at Newport, Ar- 
kansas. Mr. Stephens was an enterprising and prosperous rancher of 
Arkansas and he gained a well established place in popular confidence 
and esteem. He was reared in the South and was afforded a good edu- 
cation and attended the Arkansas College. He was a prominent planter 
and stockman, and came from one of the first families in the South. 
He was a loyal husband and father and did all in his power for his 
family whom he cherished. Mr. Stephens was united in marriage 
March 30, 1889, and to this union were born seven children: Mary Har- 
riet, residing in Seeley ; Isaac W., in the United States service ; Oram 
Datus, Gladys, Donald H., Louise, wife of William Hoyt Colgate of 
San Diego, California, now serving in the United States Army, and 
Elberta L. 

CHARLES W. BROWN.— While not one of the first settlers of Im- 
perial County, Charles W. Brown of Calipatria has the honor of being 
appointed the first postmaster of that place and has held the office con- 
tinuously since the town was started, April 1, 1914. Mr. Brown came to 
the county in 1909, and has witnessed many striking and phenomenally 
rapid changes. He is now the owner of a 160-acre homestead, which 
has been brought up to a high state of cultivation, and Mr. Brown is 
considered one of the reliable ranchers of his community. He was the 
first man to plant a vineyard in his locality. Charles W. Brown was 


born in Lamar, Missouri, October 22, 1872, a son of Charles H. and 
Emma (Wills) Brown. His parents are both deceased and buried in 
the family plot at Lamar, Missouri. The family are of old English orig- 
in and the first of the Brown family to come to America was Brigham 
Brown, who came in the Mayflower. Mr. Brown's father was a banker 
of Lamar, Missouri, and was a pioneer of that locality, but his grand- 
father and great-grandfather were prominent Baptist clergymen. The 
subject of this sketch acquired his education in the William Jewel Col- 
lege of Liberty, Missouri, and the New York Military Academy, which 
he left at the age of twenty years. Returning to his native town, 
Charles W. became identified with banking in his father's bank. He 
later started the First National Bank at Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was 
the second bank started in the Indian Territory, and Mr. Brown was 
named by the Indians "Taneha," which means a "good fellow." Re- 
maining in Tulsa for sixteen years, Mr. Brown came direct to Imperial 
County and took the position as assistant cashier of the First National 
Bank of Imperial. He also served as police judge for a period of one 
year. Leaving Imperial, Mr. Brown was the first man in Cahpatna. 
Fraternally Mr. Brown is a member of the B. P. O. E. No. 946 of Tul- 
sa Oklahoma. He married at Rialto, California, August 18, 1914, Ba- 
be'tte Gagel, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gagel. Mrs. Brown's 
mother is deceased and is buried at Rialto, California, and her father 
is an orange grower of that place. Mr. Brown's grandfather, Abel 
Brown, was killed as the result of a riot when he was preaching the 
doctrines of abolition. The subject of this review served as captain of 
Company C, Second Missouri Regiment, during the Spanish-American 

WILLIAM A. McCUNE.— In reviewing the careers of those men 
prominently concerned in the industrial and agricultural life of Im- 
perial County, specific mention must be made of William A. McCune, 
whose excellent ranching property of one hundred and forty-five acres 
adjoins the city of Seeley. He has erected permanent buildings and is 
raising alfalfa quite extensively, and improving all the time. Mr. Mc- 
Cune is also proprietor of the Seeley Garage and occupies a prominent 
place among the business men of the town. He was born at Goldendale, 
Washington, October 31, 1886, a son of James A. and Etta (Ribbs) 



McCune, a pioneer sheepman of the coast and now makes his home at 
Delesa, California. Mr. McCune received his education in the public 
and high schools. For four years he followed civil engineering in Ore- 
gon and Idaho. Removing to San Diego, he took a course in electrical 
and mechanical engineering. Coming to Seeley, he purchased a ranch 
and in 1917 became proprietor of the Seeley Garage. Fraternally Mr. 
McCune is a member of the K. of P. of El Centro. He married at 
National City, California, October 7, 1912, Miss Alice E. Atwater, 
daughter of Horace Atwater. In his political affiliations he votes for 
the man always, irrespective of party. 

WALTER SCOTT CAMPBELL is prominently and actively asso- 
ciated with the business interests of Brawley, California, and is a 
partner in one of the finest and most profitable grocery stores in 
Southern California, since its organization in 1916. He was born in 
Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, May 1, 1869, a son of Lindsay H. 
and Jennett M. (Thompson )l Campbell, both deceased. Mr. Campbell's 
father is buried at Tower City, Pennsylvania, while his mother was 
buried at Ratoon, New Mexico. The family came from Scotland to 
America previous to the Revolutionary war. Mr. Campbell received a 
limited education. Early in life he worked in the mines of Pennsyl- 
vania. At the age of eighteen he started to learn the grocery business. 
This vocation he followed all his life, clerking in various stores 
throughout the country. Coming to Brawley he followed the grocery 
business, and in 1916 he formed a co-partnership with Mr. E. C. 
Schelling. Progressive and far-sighted, Mr. Campbell was one of those 
who saw the future of Brawley, and he purchased six acres of land 
which is in the city limits. Politically he is a Democrat, but has never 
aspired for office. Fraternally he is affiliated with the K. of P. of Braw- 
ley. Mr. Campbell was married at Gallup, New Mexico, April 14, 1896, 
to Miss Lennie Bolton, and to this union have been born two children : 
George L., born January 25, 1897, assistant timekeeper at the Old Do- 
minion Copper Company at Globe, Arizona, and Naomi Madeline, born 
October 22, 1899. Mr. Campbell is in every sense of the word a self- 
made man. Starting out in life as a poor boy without financial assist- 
ance, or the aid of influential friends, he has, by his own efforts, risen 
to be one of the representative business men of Imperial County. 


AUSTIN J. DURAND. — A prominent representative of the mercan- 
tile business of Seeley is Austin J. Durand, who has been proprietor of 
the Seeley Cash Store since February, 1916. Mr. Durand was born at 
Turner, Illinois, now Chicago, July 4, 1876, a son of David J. and Mar- 
tha S. (Gorton) Durand, both deceased and buried in Portland, Ore- 
gon. The subject of this review acquired his education in the schools 
of Portland, where he graduated in 1894. He engaged in the dry goods 
business for a time and then embarked in the hardware business 
until he came to Imperial County in 1915. The following year he 
engaged in the general merchandise business and is meeeting with 
every success. Politically Mr. Durand is affiliated with the Republican 
party, but he has never aspired to public office. He has been a promi- 
nent factor in the development of the thriving town of Seeley. Fra- 
ternally Mr. Durand is a Royal Arch Mason and holds membership 
in El Centro Lodge. He was married in Portland, Oregon, June 30, 
1909, to Miss Mary Ethel Fraser. He has a wide acquaintance and is 
a man of excellent business capacities, and is held in high respect as a 
man and citizen. 

SALVADOR CREEL.— While he did not come to the Imperial Valley 
among the pioneers, Salvador Creel has so conducted his affairs that 
he holds a prominent position among his fellow citizens, and has de- 
veloped his property near Calipatria to a greater extent than many who 
preceded him to this section. At present he is a director of the North 
End Water Company, and a delegate of the North End in the com- 
mittee now working with the Irrigation District to insure the Valley 
of an ample and constant water supply. He is general manager of the 
Calipatria Land and Cattle Company, and has under cultivation six 
hundred and forty acres of highly cultivated land. Mr. Creel is a na- 
tive of Mexico, and was born in Chihuahua August 30, 1890, a son of 
H. Enrique, former ambassador to the United States, and Angela (Ter- 
razas) Creel. The subject of this review was reared and received his 
preliminary education in Mexico, after which he entered Agricultural 
College at Ames, Iowa, taking the agricultural and mechanical arts 
course. Leaving college in 1910, he returned to Mexico and took the 
management of eight thousand acres of wheat and corn land and at 
the same time Mr. Creel was identified with the banking house of Creel 



Brothers in the City of Mexico, up to 1913. He then made a visit to 
California and later visited El Paso, Texas, for one year. In 191 5, re- 
turning to California, he became identified with Imperial County. Mr. 
Creel's parents made their home in Los Angeles and are of old Mexi- 
can origin. Mr. Creel has manifested a commendable interest in all mat- 
ters pertaining to the county's welfare and gives his support to all 
hiovements which he believes will be of a beneficial nature. 

THOMAS ALLEN HOWARD has been prominently identified with 
the business interests of Seeley since October, 1914. Mr. Howard was 
born in Nashville, Tennessee, February 27, 1872, son of James and 
Uzebie (McDonald) Howard. His father was a prominent farmer of 
his locality and was largely identified with the mule brokerage business 
of that state. The family dates back to Revolutionary stock and were 
prominent in various ways in the South. Thomas A. received his edu- 
cation in the public schools of McKinney, Texas, where his parents re- 
moved when Thomas was young. At an early age he assisted his father 
on the home ranch for a few years. He eventually came west and lo- 
cated in San Diego, California. He followed various vocations while 
there and in 1899 Mr. Howard went in the mountains, raising cattle 
in partnership with Adolph Levi until 1904. Mr. Howard then became 
identified with his brother, J. A. Howard, in the same business. This 
co-partnership continued until 1910, Mr. Howard remaining in the 
mountains all the time. October 1, 1914, he engaged in the meat busi- 
ness in Seeley, with William Kuntler. The firm own their own modern 
building and the latest and most improved machinery was installed. 
Mr. Howard with his brother owns a small ranch near Seeley. Politi- 
cally Mr. Howard is a Democrat, but has never aspired for office. He 
was married in Phoenix, Arizona, December 17, 1914, to Miss Rhoda 
Pittman of Danville, Kentucky. To Mr. and Mrs. Howard was born 
one daughter, Katherine, born December 4, 191 5. 

BARON B. MASTICK is one of the representative men of Imperial 
County. Previous to coming to this community he was connected with 
the stock business in Iowa, and had much to do with the advance- 
ment of the section of Iowa in which he resided. His birth occurred in 
East Claridon, Ohio, August 22, 1844, a son of Nathaniel and Louisa 


(Bradley) 1 Mastick. The family came from Vermont and Connecticut 
and are descendents from General Bradley of Revolutionary fame. Mr. 
Mastick's brother, Erman E.. fought in the Civil war and was captain 
of Company K, Second Iowa Infantry. Baron B., the subject of this 
review, received his education in his native state, attending the public 
schools. He later entered Hiram College. Finishing his education, he 
clerked for a period of three years. Later he removed to Harlan, Iowa, 
where he engaged in the stock business. He served as county recorder 
for four years. Disposing of his realty holdings in Iowa, he went to 
Nebraska, where he bought and shipped livestock and grain for fifteen 
years. Mr. Mastick spent three winters in Imperial County before he 
located in Seeley permanently, which was in 1912. He owns, with his 
son, Fred E., one hundred and fourteen acres, and has improved his 
land and raises cotton, corn, alfalfa and hogs. Politically Mr. Mastick 
is a Progressive-Republican. He was married at Painsville, Ohio, April 
24, 1867, to Miss Jennie E. Sisson, a daughter of Augustus L. and 
Elizabeth (Warner) Sisson. Mr. and Mrs. Mastick celebrated their 
golden wedding in 1917. Their two sons are Fred E., born December 
21, 1879, in the hardware business at Seeley; and Claire S., born in 
1883, in the United States Army, at present stationed in the transpor- 
tation department at Fort Kearny, California. Mr. Mastick has been 
identified with the business interests of Seeley since 1914, and has been 
engaged in the insurance line since that time. 

CARL PETREE has been identified with the Union Oil Company of 
California as managing agent for Brawley since June 1, 1917. He came 
to Imperial County October 19, 191 1, and was born in Greenfield, Iowa, 
February 10, 1894. He is the son of Joseph and Fredericka (Augustin) 
Petree. His father was a pioneer farmer in Iowa and now resides in 
Oklahoma. The subject of this sketch acquired his education in the 
public schools of Oklahoma. At the age of seventeen he left the State 
Normal School of Edmond, Oklahoma. Mr. Petree came to California 
and located in Brawley. Here he found employment at various voca- 
tions until he became associated with the Union Oil Company. His 
first position was wagon salesman, and, owing to his business ability, 
he was promoted to his present position, which he has filled to the en- 
tire satisfaction of his company. Mr. Petree was married in Los An- 



geles, California, August i6, 1916, to Miss Helen C. Sullivan. Mr. Pet- 
ree's family are of old American origin and his grandfather, on his 
mother's side, fought in the Civil war. Mr. Petree is also interested 
in farming in Imperial County. 

THOMAS P. DALY. — In the rapidly developing section of Lower 
California "Progress" seems to be the watchword, and no one seems 
better suited to bear the standard than Thomas P. Daly. He has con- 
tributed much to that part of California. In addition to his position of 
responsibility, the interests which he represents have honored him with 
positions of trust, specially showing their belief in his personal integ- 
rity in making him president and general manager of the Imperial De- 
velopment Company S. A., which comprise the Cudahy holdings, com- 
prising sixteen thousand acres of land in Lower California. Mr. Daly 
is a native of Chicago, Illinois; his birth occurred August 19, 1888, 
son of Patrick and Rosalie M. (Molitor) Daly. His father was born 
in Connecticut, and his mother is a native of Luxemburg. Thomas P. 
Daly acquired his education in the public and high schools of Chicago, 
Illinois, after which he took a business course. After the completion of 
his business course, he accepted a position in accounting and construc- 
tion work for various firms in Chicago. Coming to Imperial Valley in 
191 1, he started development work and farming for the Cudahy inter- 
ests. Owing to revolutionary disturbances, the early development work 
in the property was retarded and delayed. Active development was re- 
sumed in 1913, and has been continued to date. During the 1918 season 
close to 7000 acres are under intensive cultivation, over 5000 acres of 
which are planted to Durango long staple cotton. This special type of 
Durango cotton was started in 1914, and since that year Mr. Daly has 
been selecting and improving the seed stock and now it commands 
fancy premiums. In addition to the cotton a highly developed hog de- 
partment is operated, raising many hundred of Duroc Jersey hogs 
every year. A poultry and dairy department is also in active opera- 
tion. The ranch also raises all the feed required for the 325 horses and 
mules used on the ranch. The subject of this review has been identified 
with the Cudahy interests nearly eight years and was united in mar- 
riage November, 1913, to Miss Rith Carroll of Chicago, Illinois, a 
daughter of George and Bridget Carroll, both residents of Calexico. 


Her father has been prominently identified as a builder contractor in 
the east. To Mr. and Mrs. Daly have been born two children : Virginia 
Rose, born December 16, 1914, and Thomas P. Jr., born July 8, 1917. 
Noteworthy among the positions Mr. Daly holds is president of the 
Lower California Agricultural Association, comprising most of the 
American growers in Lower California. He is president of the Imperial 
Delta Cotton Association, which is a co-operative marketing associa- 
tion. Fraternally Mr. Daly is a member of the Knights of Columbus 
of Chicago, Illinois. He is a type of the sterling, broad-minded and far- 
seeing men who have made the gratifying history of Lower California. 
His ability and business acumen have given him a high place in the 
regard of his fellow men. 

WILLIAM C. EATON.— The selection of any individual to fill an 
important position is naturally an evidence of that person's ability and 
efficiency. The standard of excellence among railroad men all over the 
country is being constantly raised and the Southern Pacific Railroad 
is fortunate in having for its passenger and freight agent William C. 
Eaton, who has held this important position at Brawley, California, 
since 1905. Mr. Eaton was born in Cleveland, New York, May 26, 
1877, a son of William H. and Arvilla (Rice) Eaton. The family were 
among the first to settle in Massachusetts, and Mr. Eaton's ancestors 
took part in the Revolutionary war. His father died September 10, 
1910, at the age of fifty-eight years and is buried in Galesburg, Mich- 
igan. Mr. Eaton's mother is still living and resides in Galesburg,. Mr. 
Eaton acquired his education in the public and high schools of Gales- 
burg, Michigan, graduating from the latter in 1895. He studied teleg- 
raphy and accepted a position in the Michigan Central Railroad, hold- 
ing this position until 1900. At the outbreak of the Spanish-American 
war he volunteered as telegraph operator during the period of the war 
in the signal corps. Coming to California, he became identified with 
the Southern Pacific Railroad as operator ; this position he held until 
he was promoted to his present position as passenger and freight agent 
at Brawley, California. Mr. Eaton is identified with ranching and 
owns eighty acres, on which is grown grain. Mr. Eaton gives his per- 
sonal supervision to his ranch, which brings good financial results. Mr. 
Eaton serves as president of the Board of Trustees of the Brawley 



high school. Fraternally he is a Mason, holding membership in the 
Blue Lodge of Brawley. He was married at Fennville, Michigan, June 
1 8, 1902, to Miss Allie Goodrich, a daughter of George F. and Annah 
(Whitbeck) Goodrich. Her father's death occurred in December, 1911, 
at the age of fifty-seven years, and her mother resides at Fennville, 
Michigan. Mr. and Mrs. Eaton have two children : Venola M., born 
September 8, 1904, and Georgiana, born August 13, 1911. 

DENVER D. PELLET. — No better example of what may be accom- 
plished by the man of energy and enterprise may be found in Impe- 
rial County than the career of Denver D. Pellet of Brawley, who is now 
serving as assistant postmaster. Since 191 2, given the gift to recognize 
and appreciate the opportunities that have presented themselves, he has 
also possessed the courage to grasp them and the ability to carry his 
ventures through to a successful conclusion. Mr. Pellet and his sister 
Nellie came to Imperial Valley in November, 1902, and were among 
the first settlers here in this section. Mr. Pellet was born in Kilburn 
City, Wisconsin, February 13, 1875, a son of Edward E. and Aura 
(Sweet) Pellet, both deceased and buried in Monrovia, California. The 
family are of French origin and the great-grandfather, Ezra Pellet, set- 
tled in the Prairie du Chien country in Wisconsin. Mr. Pellet received 
his education in Jetmore, Kansas, and left school at the age of seven- 
teen. He learned the printer's trade and followed this vocation in many 
cities before coming to Imperial County. On his arrival here he edited 
the Imperial Press ; this position he held for several months. He re- 
moved to Brawley when the town was laid out and purchased some 
lots. In conjunction with farming Mr. Pellet engaged in newspaper 
work until 1909, when he again removed to Imperial and took the edi- 
torial management of The Press. He moved the plant to El Centro, 
which is now the Imperial Valley Press. In September, following the 
county seat election, Mr. Pellet engaged in the job business for eighteen 
months. He then returned to Brawley to look after his ranch interests, 
remaining on the ranch until he took his present position as assistant 
postmaster. Mr. Pellet assisted in organizing the board of trustees of 
El Centro with J. Stanley Brown. His sister has been postmaster of 
Brawley since 1907. After completing her studies in Harlan, Iowa, she 
taught school for several years in Iowa, and for two years served as 


official stenographer in the Circuit Court of the Seventh District in 
Kansas. Politically Mr. Pellet is a Democrat. He was united in mar- 
riage at Imperial, California, with Ella May Mead, April 12, 1903, 
daughter of Edwin and Belle Mead, pioneers of Imperial Valley. Mr. 
Pellet's daughters: Margaret Eloise, was born at El Centro, Califor- 
nia, February 16, 1907, and Elizabeth May, was born at Ontario, Cali- 
fornia, March 21, 191 1. 

HERMAN ANTHOLZ — As an extensive cotton broker of Imperial 
Valley, Herman Antholz is actively and prominently associated with 
one of the most profitable industries of California, and may well be 
classed as one who is contributing his full share towards the advance- 
ment of the state's best interests. Mr. Antholz is recognized as one of 
the most substantial and influential business men of Calexico. He is a 
native of Bremen, Germany, and was born October 1, 1884, son of 
August and Lina Antholz. The subject of this review acquired his edu- 
cation in the schools of Germany and France. Completing his studies 
in the latter country he returned to his native city and there became 
identified with the cotton business where he remained eight years. Re- 
turning to France, he was engaged in the same business for three years. 
He made various trips to England and in 1909, he came to America 
and located in Decatur, Alabama, where he was also interested in the 
cotton business. Mr. Antholz spent five summers in New York City, 
and in 1914, he came to California and located in Calexico, where he 
maintains spacious offices and deals in cotton. He ships extensively all 
over the United States and to the Orient. On an average he handles 
twelve thousand bales annually. Mr. Antholz was united in marriage 
to Miss Maud Hackey Haskell, a native of Los Angeles, California, 
March 3, 1917. Her ancestors are from colonial stock and among the 
prominent families of New England. To Mr. and Mrs. Antholz has 
been born one daughter, Jane, born November 10, 1917. Mr. Antholz 
has carried on successful agricultural operations in Lower California, 
but has disposed of his holdings and confines his efforts to his lifelong 
business. While a student in France, he played three quarters on a 
college team which on several occasions played England. He is a pro- 
gressive citizen in every sense of the word and gives his support to 
movements that will better conditions in Imperial County. 

^fJ^t jfPSfcL* 




ALLEN R. FERGUSON.— Allen Robert Ferguson is a splendid ex- 
ample of the men of courage and enterprising spirit. In 1907 the pres- 
ent site of Seeley was not even under cultivation, and in 1912 it had 
risen to the rank of a third-class postoffice. This remarkable growth 
was largely due to the foresight of Mr. Ferguson, who saw the neces- 
sity of a town somewhere near the present site of Seeley. He divided 
his holdings into town lots and laid off streets and sold most of the lots 
in the townsite. Mr. Ferguson's birth occurred in Wayne County, West 
Virginia, December 14, 1867, a son of Jefferson and Cornelia (Smith) 
Ferguson. His father was a native of West Virginia, and his mother 
was born in Virginia. In the parents' family were ten children. He was 
reared and acquired his education in his native state. At the age of 
twenty-two he came to California and engaged in the horticultural 
business in San Diego, where he remained for a period of fifteen years. 
In 1907 Mr. Ferguson came to Imperial County and took up one hun- 
dred and sixty acres of land and put on the townsite of Seeley. In 191 1 
the Seeley postoffice was established, through Mr. Ferguson's efforts, 
and in one year it was rated as a third-class office. Mr. Ferguson 
served as the first postmaster. The town was laid out on a generous 
plan, all streets being eighty feet wide. Mr. Ferguson was united in 
marriage to Miss Olive Peters, daughter of John N. and Nancy R. 
(Harris) Peters, her father being a native of Kentucky, and the moth- 
er of Virginia. Mrs. Ferguson was born in Wayne County, West Vir- 
ginia, and was a teacher in the public schools previous to her marriage. 
To Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson have been born five children, four of whom 
are deceased. Their daughter, Olivia Roberta, was born July 21, 1913. 
Fraternally Mr. Ferguson is identified with the Masonic Lodge of El 
Centro, and is a Knight Templar. He is also a member of the Shrine 
of San Diego. Mr. Ferguson has attained success, and through his ef- 
forts and by the co-operation of his wife he has attained a place among 
the representative men of Imperial County. He stands today an ex- 
cellent example of what may be termed a self-made man. Mr. Fergu- 
son has financial interests and maintains a fine summer home in Bur- 
bank, California. 

CHRIS H. MEIER. — Ambition, energy and progressive spirit have 
brought Chris H. Meier to be regarded as a representative business 


man of Imperial County. He needs no introduction to the people of 
the Valley, as he has become favorably known as the proprietor of the 
King Cotton Bakery and Restaurant of Calexico. He is probably the 
first baker to come to the county. He took up his residence in 1906 and 
located in Calexico. He was born at sea, his father being a sailor for 
many years. Mr. Meier enlisted as a private in Company K, Twenty- 
first Regular Infantry, on the 4th of August, 1884. He saw service for 
five years and received an honorable discharge on the 3rd day of Aug- 
ust, 1889. He fought in the Indian wars in Colorado, and during one 
battle, which took place thirty miles from Fort Lewis, he was cut 
across the throat and injured in the leg. While in the service he attend- 
ed school and by the aid of friends in New York, he learned the bak- 
ery trade in Williamsburg, New York. He followed this vocation all 
over the country and while in Denver he enlisted. Mr. Meier operated 
three shops in Los Angeles previous to coming to Imperial County. He 
erected the building in Calexico where he has a most modern bakery 
and restaurant. 

SEBE T. ROBINSON is one of the men who are making their influ- 
ence felt in Imperial County. Through perseverance and industry he has 
accomplished results. Mr. Robinson has served as postmaster at Seeley 
since February 25, 1915. He was born in Greenville, Tennessee, June 
11, 1879, a son of Allen G. and Nannie (McKnabb) Robinson. His 
father followed agriculture, and died in 1901, at the old home- 
stead in Tennessee. His mother is still living and resides in Greenville, 
Tenessee, on the same farm. The ancestors of Mr. Robinson came to 
this country previous to the Revolutionary war. The subject of this 
biographical sketch received his education in Greenville, Tennessee, 
and later was a student at Tusculum College, in Tenessee, where he 
received the degree of A. B. in 1900. He then taught school for one 
year. Coming to California, he located in Los Angeles and engaged in 
the fruit business for about four years. For three years he became 
identified with mining; he prospected and was in charge of a mine em- 
ploying a number of men. Coming to Imperial County to look over the 
situation, he determined to cast his lot with this county, and the fol- 
lowing winter he brought cattle in and by hard and faithful labor was 
successful in his undertaking. Following the cattle business for about 


two and one-half years, he then engaged in general contracting work 
under the firm name of the Seeley Transfer Company, of which he is 
part owner. Mr. Robinson owns two hundred acres of the most valu- 
able land in his section. He devoted his land largely to the growing of 
cotton. Mr. Robinson manifests a warm interest in every public im- 
provement or effort towards the welfare of the people of his section, 
and he commands the good will of all who know him. Politically Mr. 
Robinson is a Democrat and is now serving as justice of the peace. 
Fraternally he is a member of the K. of P. of El Centro. He was mar- 
ried at Ramona. California, December 25, 1913, to Louise Murillo, and 
their one son, Allen Temple, was born August 29, 1916. 

WILLIAM K. WALKER. — Prominent among the business men of 
Calexico is William K. Walker, who is a type of the modern and up-to- 
date successful men of affairs. He was born in Edison Park, Illinois, 
now a suburb of Chicago, June 16, 1893, son of Joseph W. and Florence 
A. Walker. His father is a musician of note and has been identified 
with various musical organizations throughout the country. He served 
as president of the Musicians' Union in various cities, and is now a 
resident of Oakland, California. Mr. Walker's mother has occupied a 
prominent place among the portrait artists in the east, having been 
identified with various firms in Chicago. William K. attended the pub- 
lic and high schools of Denver, where his parents lived previous to 
coming to the coast. Finishing his education, he took up photography 
and worked for the De Lux Studio in Denver. Mr. Walker spent the 
summer of 1910 in Imperial Valley and then returned to Denver. In 
1 914 he returned to the Valley and engaged in business in El Centro. 
July 1, 1917, he purchased the Sunset Studio in Calexico and makes 
a specialty of portrait work and enlarging. He also has every facility 
for doing commercial work. He was married to Miss Merle M. 
Knights, June 16, 1915. The grandfather and grandmother on Mr. 
Walker's father's side were natives of Leeds, England. Mr. Walker has 
taken a prominent place among the business citizens of Calexico. 

JAMES A. SHEFFIELD. — One of the leading representatives of 
business interests of Brawley is James A. Sheffield, manager of the Im- 
perial Valley Hardware Company of Brawley, California, since July, 


1913. This institution is one of the largest, best-conducted and most 
successful business houses in Imperial County. Mr. Sheffield was born 
at Salome Spring, Benton County, Arkansas, March 2, 1870, son of 
George W. and Frances (Walker) 1 Sheffield, both deceased and buried 
near Silome Spring, Arkansas. Mr. Sheffield's family comes from old 
Scotch ancestry and came to America before the Revolutionary war. 
Mr. Sheffield's father fought in the Civil war on the side of the Con- 
federacy. James A. acquired his education in the schools of Arkansas 
and assisted on the home farm. Early in life he came west and located 
at Jerome, Arizona, where he found employment in a general mer- 
chandise store. Here he remained for some years, previous to coming 
to Imperial Valley. In politics he is a Democrat, but has never aspired 
to office. Fraternally Mr. Sheffield is affiliated with the Modern Wood- 
men of the World. He was united in marriage in Jerome, Arizona, 
August, 1899, to Miss Verone M. Harris. To this union have been born 
three children : Cora A., George H., and Charles N. Mr. Sheffield has 
the confidence and high regard of all those who know him and his 
standing in the community is such as to justify his representation in 
the first history of Imperial County. 

HENRY DIEFFENBACHER. — In reviewing the careers of the men 
prominently concerned in the business life of Imperial County, mention 
should be made of Henry Dieffenbacher, who came to the Valley in 
November, 1914, and has been identified with the meat business in Cali- 
patria since October 13, 1917. He was born in Eppingen, Baden, Ger- 
many, September 17, 1863, and received his education in his native 
land. In 1880, he came to America and has been a citizen of the United 
States since 1892. He has followed the butcher business in various parts 
of the country for many years. In 1882 he came to California, and in 
1888 he engaged first in business for himself in Benicia, after working 
at his trade in that city for nearly three years. He engaged in business 
at Aroyo Grande, California, where he remained four years. Mr. Dief- 
fenbacher then removed to Arizona and remained one year. Coming to 
Imperial County, he took over ten acres of land and erected a slaughter 
house on the place at Calipatria. Here he remained for a time and then 
engaged in business in Mexicali for eighteen months. Returning to Cali- 
patria he opened his present store and has met with gratifying success. 



ALBERT RICHARD HEMS.— Conspicuous among the young, cap- 
able and ambitious business men of Imperial County is numbered 
Albert Richard Hems. He was born in England, December 7, 1882, son 
of Henry and Sarah (Glover) Hems. He acquired his education in 
his native land and at an early age he came to America and settled in 
Troy, N. Y., where he found employment in the Burden Iron Works. 
Here he remained five years. He then visited his sister in Newport, 
Ky., and later went to Cincinnati, Ohio, and worked in Elmwood, a 
suburb of Cincinnati, for one year. He then went to Indianapolis, 
where he worked in a machine shop for one year. Later he removed 
to Toledo, Ohio, and late in 1907 he went to Salem, Oregon, and re- 
mained about two years, going to San Francisco and then to Phoenix, 
Arizona. In 1910 he worked for George Stevens in San Bernardino, 
remaining for two years at the undertaking business. Mr. Hems then 
went to New York City and studied embalming, graduating in 1914 
from the Renouard Embalming School, and after completing his course 
he returned to the Coast and located in Long Beach, California, where 
he became identified with J. J. Mottell, who is engaged in the under- 
taking business. Here Mr. Hems remained two years. He then worked 
for W. H. Sutch and Bresee Bros., in Los Angeles. He then came to 
Calexico, engaging in the undertaking business and has one of the best 
equipped parlors and chapels in the county. He also has a modern 
automobile hearse. Fraternally, Mr. Hems is a member of the Moose 
Lodge. He was married January 16, 1917, to Miss Lena Rawlings, a 
daughter of Frank and Elizabeth Rawlings. Her parents are both de- 
ceased and were among the old residents of England. To Mr. and Mrs. 
Hems was born one son, Allen Richard, born November 9, 1917. While 
a resident of Salem, Oregon, Mr. Hems was a member of Company 
M, Oregon National Guard. The family is active in the Methodist 
Church of Calexico. Mr. Hems' parents are both deceased and were of 
English descent. Mrs. Hems has six brothers in the present war, four 
in France and two in Egypt. Mr. and Mrs. Hems have won an exten- 
sive circle of warm friends in Calexico and Imperial County. 

HARRY A. STAUB, is an excellent example of the progressive busi- 
ness men who are making Imperial County, and he is recognized as 
one of the men of this community who are conversant with the most ap- 


proved business methods. Mr. Staub has been manager of Varney 
Brothers store at Brawley since April, 1914. He was born in Green- 
ville, Illinois, May 26, 1883, and is a son of H. H. and Jennie C. (Col- 
cord) Staub. His father died in June, 1910, and is buried in Green- 
ville, Illinois. Mr. Staub's mother makes her home in Brawley with 
her son, Harry A. Mr. Staub received his education in the public 
schools of his native town, after which he took a business course. Leav- 
ing school he became identified with W. W. Hussong, where he learned 
the grocery business, remaining six years. Mr. Staub came west with 
his employers and located in the Valley. Mr. Staub engaging with 
Stahl Brothers for some years, and also worked for Varney Brothers. 
Mr. Staub then engaged in the grocery business for himself for two 
years, after which he sold out to Varney Brothers, and Mr. Staub took 
the management which position he still holds and is a stockholder in 
that concern. Mr. Staub owned a ranch near Brawley, which he sold in 
February, 191 8. In politics, Mr. Staub is a Progressive-Republican. 
Fraternally he is a Mason, being a member of Greenville Lodge F. & 
A. M. Mr. Staub was married August 12, 1910, to Miss Jessie Lee, a 
daughter of Lewis and Minnie B. Lee. Her father is deceased and her 
mother resides in Los Angeles. To Mr. and Mrs. Staub have been born 
one daughter, Rowena Lucille, born February 28, 1913. Mr. Staub 
takes an active interest in anything for the betterment and advance- 
ment of Brawley and Imperial County. 

EDWIN J. ALLEN is one of the representative business men of Braw- 
ley and is identified with the Globe Grain and Milling Company, as 
assistant manager. This position he has held since 1916. Mr. Allen is a 
native son, his birth occurring in San Francisco, June 27, 1892, son of 
William J. and Louey (Hill) Allen. He attended the public schools of 
San Francisco, and then took a position as clerk for a period of one 
year, when he then became associated as bookkeeper with the firm of 
Harron Rickard and McCone, a wholesale and retail machinery firm, 
remaining with this house until 1913, when he came to Imperial County 
and became associated with the present concern of which he is now 
assistant manager. Fraternally, Mr. Allen is affiliated with the Masonic 
Lodge of El Centro. He was united in marriage in San Francisco to 
Miss Kay Browning, September 12, 1914, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. 


T. C. Browning, residents of Colton, California. To this union has 
been born one son, John Louis Allen, born September 24, 1915. 

WILLIAM C. ALLEN.— The history of Imperial County would be 
incomplete and unsatisfactory were there failure to make prominent 
reference to William C. Allen, who has been manager of the Globe 
Mills, which control eight warehouses, seventeen cotton gins, and one 
oil mill since 191 1. Mr. Allen is a man of genial personality and keen 
business ability, and is numbered among the representative, far-sighted 
and enterprising business men of Southern California. He is a native 
San Franciscan, his birth occurring in San Francisco June 17, 1886, a 
son of William J. and Louey (Hill) Allen. William C. Allen acquired 
his education in the public schools of San Francisco, California. At an 
early age he started out in life to make his own livelihood and entered 
the office of Rosenblatt and Company as office boy for a period of four 
years. He then became a clerk in the Goethe Bank, where he remained 
until 1908, when he removed to Los Angeles and became identified with 
Nordlinger & Son as office manager until he came to El Centro. He 
served with his present company as bookkeeper for only one week; 
when he was made manager. Fraternally Mr. Allen is a member of the 
Masonic order, and belongs to the Shrine, and is also a Native Son. 

DON W. WELLS. — Among the men whose enterprise and ability have 
been active factors in promoting the remarkable growth and prosperity 
of El Centro and Imperial County in general, is numbered Don W. 
Wells. He is a native of Worthington, Minnesota, November 13, 1884, 
a son of John E. and Susan B. (Langdon) Wells. The subject of this 
sketch acquired his early education in the public schools of Los Ange- 
les, California. At an early age he started to learn mechanical engineer- 
ing. In 1904 Mr. Wells entered the office of Norman F. Marsh, archi- 
tect of Los Angeles, California, and has followed his profession con- 
tinually up to the present time. He has been identified with many of 
the leading building projects of the valley. Fraternally, he is a Mason 
and belongs to the Chapter. Mr. Wells was united in marriage in Port- 
land, Oregon, to Miss Anna Nylen, December 23, 1907. To this union 
have been born a son and daughter, John Emmett and Anna Luella. 
Mr. Wells' ancestors came from Holland and settled in this country in 


1635 and were among the time-honored and representative families who 
first settled in the Mohawk Valley, New York. Mr. Wells is eligible to 
join the Sons of the American Revolution. He concentrates his atten- 
tion upon his chosen profession, of which he is today a leader in this 
field. His name adds to the list of those whose names have been far- 
reaching and beneficial in effect that they have influenced many phases 
of community development. 

CHARLES N. STAHL.— The history of Charles N. Stahl and that of 
his brothers and two sisters is thoroughly interwoven with the pioneer 
day history of the great Imperial Valley. Mr. Stahl was born at Wines- 
burg, Ohio, December 11, 1872. His father, Valentine Stahl, was born 
in the same village and his grandfather, John Stahl, was one of the 
earliest settlers in Ohio, coming to that state when cities like Cleveland 
and Columbus were mere hamlets. His mother, Elizabeth Stahl, was 
born in Switzerland of Swiss and French ancestry. She came to Amer- 
ica when she was eight years old and with her husband is still living on 
the old Stahl homestead. Mr. Stahl received his education in the public 
schools and also has been a student at the Washington State Agricul- 
tural College. He spent ten years of his life in the school room as 
teacher, teaching in the states of Ohio, Nebraska and Washington. In 
1903 Mr. Stahl and several of his brothers came to the Imperial Valley. 
Of course the entire valley was then an almost absolute desert. The 
hummocks and creosote bush were thick where Brawley now stands ; 
a few adobe huts were under construction and a lateral ditch had been 
constructed as far as Brawley. There was lots of elbow room and op- 
timism permeating everybody, even the Mexican adobe maker seeking 
shelter from the burning sun behind a stack of adobe bricks, talked of 
cities and farms. The Stahl Brothers came to Imperial Valley to pio- 
neer and farm. They soon took up some land and leased a great deal 
more and for several years engaged extensively in farming. When the 
Colorado River in 1906 went on a rampage, and many of the settlers 
were in despair, some driving their stock across the mountains to San 
Diego and coast points, W. F. Holt was giving the people an object 
lesson in optimism by erecting the present Imperial Valley bank build- 
ing. It was then that Mr. Stahl and some of his brothers decided to 
invest their surplus in a mercantile venture. They leased a store room 



from Mr. Holt and started in the business. The store was a success 
from the start and soon outgrew its store room capacity. After several 
years at the old location the store was moved to its present location 
and has grown to be one of the largest and most up-to-date clothing 
and dry goods stores in the county. Besides being interested in the mer- 
cantile business, Mr. Stahl owns three 80-acre ranches close to Braw- 
ley, and with his brothers owns three of the best business blocks in 
Brawley. Mr. Stahl helped to establish the cantaloupe and vegetable 
industry at Brawley. He was for several years vice-president of the 
Imperial Valley Bank. He has always been a Brawley booster and in 
various ways has helped to make Brawley a better and bigger city. Mr. 
Stahl was married to Miss Lucy Henderson on December 27, 1913. 
They have two children : Mary Elizabeth and Charles, Jr. 

ADOLPH KESSLING. — After a long and varied career, during 
which he has traveled extensively and devoted his energies to numer- 
ous lines of endeavor, Adolph Kessling is now one of the leading busi- 
ness men of Calexico, where his progressive and enterprising methods 
have won success. Mr. Kessling is a native of Germany and was born 
January 4, 1856. He acquired his education in the schools of his native 
land and at the age of twenty he went to Russia, where he spent five 
years. In December, 1881, he came to America. Early in life he learned 
the meat business and after his arrival in this country he worked in 
the coal mines for a time. He then followed mining and prospected in 
Nevada, California, Arizona and Mexico. In Kansas City he worked 
in the packing houses and also found employment on the railroads. In 
Southeastern Missouri he worked at his trade for two years and in 
Texas he engaged in business for himself. Mr. Kessling was married in 
Kansas City, Missouri, and removed to Texas the following year. He 
married Paulina Hausler in December, 1886. Seven children were born 
of this union, two of whom are dead. The living are Hulda, wife of 
Charles Freer, residing in Texas ; Adolph, Albert, William and Edwin. 
The latter is attending school in Brenham, Texas. In March, 1905, Mr. 
Kessling came to Imperial Valley. He worked for a time and also did 
much prospecting in this locality and crossed the Colorado Desert 
from many points. In 1910 he engaged in the meat business in a small 
way. The business has grown and Mr. Kessling was obliged to change 


his location three times. He now has one of the most modern markets 
in the Valley and does a wholesale as well as retail business. Mr. Kess- 
ling has forty acres of highly cultivated land in the Valley. Frater- 
nally he is a member of the K. of P. of Calexico. 

WILLIAM F. KEELINE is numbered among the progressive and 
successful business men of El Centro, California. He has been the pro- 
prietor of the Keeline Tent & Manufacturing Company, 443 Main 
Street, since March, 1916. Mr. Keeline was born in Neleigh, Nebraska, 
July 31, 1885, a son of Wm. C. and Augusta A. (Gardner) Keeline. He 
received his education in the public schools at Council Bluffs, Iowa, and 
at an early age he went to Idaho Springs, Colorado, where he assisted 
his brother at mining for two years. While in the mining camp he was 
injured by blasting and left. He then went to Omaha where he became 
identified with his brother-in-law, who was proprietor of the Omaha 
Tent and Awning Company (now deceased)'. Mr. Keeline remained in 
Omaha until he was twenty years of age. He was traveling on the road 
for some years, and in 1907 he came to Los Angeles from Sacramento, 
California, where he managed a branch of the Tent & Awning Com- 
pany for two years. For eighteen months he was engaged as traveling 
salesman for another concern and then came to El Centro, where he 
organized the Valley Tent & Awning Company, and held the office of 
secretary and treasurer, until such time as he disposed of his interests 
and established the present business. Mr. Keeline was married in Los 
Angeles, California, April 15, 1907, to Miss Grace ^Williams, a native 
of Nebraska. Fraternally Mr. Keeline is a member of the K. of P. To 
Mr. and Mrs. Keeline have been born three children, William C, Albert 
M., and George A. In all business relations Mr. Keeline has the confi- 
dence and regard of all who know him. 

FRANK J. PEACOCK. — One of the most able, progressive and enter- 
prising business men of Imperial County is Frank J. Peacock, propri- 
etor of the Arrowhead Creamery, which was originally established in 
1905. He has been actively and successfully identified with the business 
interests of the county for many years, and is recognized today as the 
pioneer creamery man of the San Joaquin Valley, and one of the fore- 
most creamery men of southern California. Mr. Peacock erected the 



first creamery in the San Joaquin Valley in 1895. He also put up the 
first creamery in Kings County. He markets his own products and does 
a wholesale business at 808 E. Fifth Street, Los Angeles, and San Ber- 
nardino, California. Mr. Peacock was born in Napa County, March 20, 
1872, a son of Joseph and Hannah Peacock. He received his education 
in the public schools and one of the business colleges of California. At 
the age of twenty-one he was elected to the office of County Tax Col- 
lector of Kings County, which office he held for eight years, during 
which time he became interested in the creamery business, and erected 
the creamery in Kings County in 1895. In 1905 Mr. Peacock organized 
the first National Bank of Lemoore, Kings County, California, and 
served as president of that institution until 1908, when he removed to 
San Bernardino and established the creamery in that city, and also in 
El Centro, California. Fraternally, he is a member of the B. P. O. E. 
Mr. Peacock has large ranch holdings and is an extensive grower of 
cotton, alfalfa and corn. In his political views he is a Republican but 
can always be counted upon to cast his vote for the man, irrespective of 
party. He was married in San Bernardino, February 4th, 1909, to Miss 
Alberta Cannon, of Ohio. Mr. Peacock stands today a forceful factor 
in the improvement of business conditions of El Centro and southern 
California. The Arrowhead creameries manufacture casein, which is 
utilized for various manufacturing purposes. Mr. Peacock makes his 
home at 1001 D Street, San Bernardino, California. 

HORACE E. ALLATT. — After a long and varied career, during 
which he traveled extensively and devoted his energies to numerous 
dines of endeavor, Horace E. Allatt is now one of the leading ranch- 
men of Imperial County, and has held the office as secretary of the 
North End Water Company since August, 1917. Mr. Allatt was born in 
Boulogne, France, July g, 1846, a son of Horace and Louise (Grattan) 
Allatt. His parents came to America in 1850, and in 1854 settled in 
Norfolk, Virginia, where his father was identified with the tobacco 
interest of that city. Horace E. acquired his education in Norfolk, Vir- 
ginia, and left school at an early age during the Civil War. Leaving 
Virginia at the age of twenty-one, he traveled extensively and followed 
different vocations. Coming to Imperial County in May, 1902, he served 
as postmaster in the town of Imperial for nine years. In 191 3 he left 



Imperial and engaged in the mercantile business in Calipatria and later 
went on his ranch of 160 acres, nine miles west of the town. He was 
made secretary of the North End Water Company in August, 1917, 
which position he is now holding. Politically, Mr. Allatt is a Republi- 
can. Fraternally, he is a Knight Templar and holds membership in the 
lodge at Riverside, California. Mr. Allatt was married in Chalmers, 
Indiana, to Miss M. Elizabeth Dobbins, and of this union have been 
born four children, Walter B., H. Edmund, Lelia, wife of Ben Pittman 
of Alameda County, and Helen A., wife of Ralph S. Benton of San 
Diego. Mr. Allatt is numbered among the progressive and enterprising 
men of Imperial County, and his energies have won him success in his 
ventures and have established him in the confidence of his fellow citi- 

OMAR E. McLANE is actively identified with business interests in 
El Centro, California. He is a man of excellent ability, sound judgment 
and good business principles. Mr. McLane is a native of Sommerset, 
Wabash County, Indiana. His birth occurred February 19, 1884, a son 
of Grant and Mary (Draper) McLane, now residing in Los Angeles 
County, where they have spent many years. Omar E. acquired his edu- 
cation in the public schools at Downey, California. At the age of fifteen 
he entered the Woodbury business college. Completing this course he 
started to learn the butcher business and eventually engaged in busi- 
ness in Downey, California. Here he remained until he removed to El 
Centro, where he erected a brick building 25 x 142, which is one of the 
most complete in equipment in Southern California. His cold storage 
and ice manufacturing machine are the most modern. Mr. McLane is 
the owner of a fine fruit ranch in California, which is very productive. 
Fraternally, he is a member of the M. W. O. W. He was married to 
Miss Anna Cote, at Whittier, California, in April, 1904. To this union 
have been born two children, Walter E. and Alda. The ancestors of 
Mr. McLane are of Scotch-Holland descent, and were among the first 
to come to America before the Revolutionary War. Mr. McLane and 
family enjoy the acquaintance of a host of friends in the Valley, and 
his business has been located at 433 Broadway since 1914, and since his 
residence here Mr. McLane has had a place among the substantial citi- 
zens of his community. 

%f- ¥^ S^y^ t^w*^ 


GEORGE J. SHANK. — The progressive citizen of today is the most 
influential factor in the development of the county in the future. The 
foregoing might be termed philosophy, and perhaps it is, but when ap- 
plied locally it takes on all the attributes which are characteristic of 
George J. Shank, the subject of this review. George J. is the owner of 
358 acres of valuable land in Water Company No. 5, near Brawley. He 
came to Imperial County April 4, 1904, and was born at Salina County, 
Kansas, July 30, 1877, the son of Bernard H. and Katherine ( Wicland) 
Shank. The family has been in this country about fifty years. Mr. 
Shank received his early education in his native state, leaving the pub- 
lic institutions of learning at the age of 23, when he attended Normal 
school. However, during his earlier years, George J. always looked out 
for himself as a ranch hand, and with the knowledge gained in his 
home state, he was doubly assured of success when he came to the Im- 
perial Valley, where he worked as a laborer upon his arrival and 
for a year thereafter. The rapid development of the country impressed 
Mr. Shank greatly at the time, and, showing keen business foresight, 
he bought 200 acres of land from his brother, which prior to his pur- 
chase, had been filed up while it was rough desert country. At present 
Mr. Shank has brought his holding to a high state of development, and 
it can be truthfully said that he has one of the most valuable holdings 
in Imperial County. He has placed out 2000 trees, has built a wire 
fence entirely around his ranch, and in addition has erected a commo- 
dious and modern dwelling thereon. It was in October, 1917, that Mr. 
Shank bought his additional 160 acres, making in all 358 acres. This 
had already been improved. George J. for a time followed the advanced 
theory in hog raising, but for the last three years has been raising grain 
on a large, remunerative scale. He is a stockholder in the Imperial Val- 
ley Bank at Brawley, and also a stockholder of the Orleans Mining and 
Milling Company of Nevada. He is president of the Gold Basin Mining 
Company of California. Politically Mr. Shank always votes for the man 
most deserving on the ballot. He was married near Silsbee, California, 
December 25, 1906, to Miss Cora Pyle, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel 
Pyle. The father of Mrs. Shank died in 1905 and is buried in the Im- 
perial cemetery. His wife resides at El Centra. Mr. and Mrs. Shank 
have two children : Clifford, born on the home place, and Clayton, 
born at San Diego. It is also interesting to note that at the time Mr. 



Shank arrived in the Valley he had but one object in view, and that 
was to obtain work at the place where he had been told while at Los 
Angeles two ranch hands were needed. He and his brother, Theodore 
B., secured the positions then open to them, and in this way fortune 
smiled a beaming ray which culminated, as the reader can readily per- 
ceive, in the unqualified success of all of Mr. Shank's undertakings. 

SAMUEL BLAIR ZIMMER was born in Bloomington, Illinois, Octo- 
ber 30, 1869, son of Levi and Elizabeth (Blair) Zimmer, among the 
early pioneers in Bloomington. His father was one of the substantial, 
esteemed and respected citizens of his locality. Samuel B., the subject 
of this review, was educated in the public and high schools of Omaha, 
Nebraska, graduating from the latter in 1889. He removed to Califor- 
nia, where he studied architecture, and located in San Diego, where he 
engaged in the same pursuit. Here he remained for a period of six 
years. He then went to El Paso, Texas, where he remained until 1901, 
when he removed to San Francisco, and enjoyed recognition in the 
metropolis as one of the leading and enterprising men in his chosen 
field. In the fall of 1907, owing to ill health, he came to Imperial 
County, where he has since remained. He planned and erected the El 
Centro high school, one of the monuments to Imperial County, and 
which cost $150,000. He also built the Imperial high school, the first 
high school in the Valley, and the El Centro jail. He has gained for 
himself a position of prominence in the architectural and building line, 
and his influence is always given in support of whatever he feels will 
promote the best interests of the community. Fraternally, Mr. Zimmer 
is a Mason and is a member of the Blue Lodge of El Centro. He was 
united in marriage in San Diego, California, July 8, 1896, to Mrs. Ger- 
trude E. Tichenor. To this union has been born one daughter, Gertrude, 
born April 21, 1908. Mr. Zimmer comes from a family who came to this 
country previous to the Revolutionary War and many of his ancestors 
fought and gave their blood in defense of their chosen land. 

JOHN E. DAVIS. — Thoroughly identified with the business growth 
and prosperity of El Centro is John E. Davis, who takes an abiding 
interest in all that concerns the welfare and progress of the town. Mr. 
Davis has been actively engaged in the drug business since 1908, hav- 
ing the distinction of being longer identified with the drug business in 



the Valley than any other store. He has by hard work and good judg- 
ment made a financial success and has one of the most modern phar- 
macies in southern California. Mr. Davis was born in Salem, New Jer- 
sey, June 21, 1877, a son of Daniel T. and Ruth A. (Ayres) Davis. 
The subject of this review acquired his education in the public school 
of his native town. At an early age he -went to work at the drug busi- 
ness, where he continued for a period of ten years and later studied 
and acquired his degree in chemistry and pharmacy in 1896, returning 
to the drug store where he served his apprenticeship. Mr. Davis took 
charge of the business and in 1899 he purchased the business from his 
former employer. Here he remained until 1902, when he disposed of 
the store and came to Los Angeles, California, owing to his health. 
After remaining here for a time Mr. Davis decided to return to the 
east, and after remaining there for a time he decided to cast his lot 
with the Golden State, where he could enjoy better health. In 1905 he 
settled on a ranch southeast of Holtville, where he remained until 1908, 
and finally regained his health. He came to El Centro and purchased 
the present drug store, where he has achieved success, and it has been 
gained by honorable and upright business dealings and, methods. Mr. 
Davis established the only drug store in Holtville, which he disposed 
of in 1912 to his brother, owing to his other interests which required 
his attention. He also has the distinction of erecting the first brick 
building in Seeley, where he established another drug store. The oppor- 
tunities that Imperial County and California offer to men of enterprise 
and sterling worth are nowhere better exemplified than in the success- 
ful career of John E. Davis. Fraternally, he is a member of the K. of 
P., and is a charter member. He also holds membership in the B. P. O. 
E. and is a charter member, and at present is one of the trustees of 
that order. He is a director of the El Centro National Bank and is a 
director of the El Centro Chamber of Commerce, having served as a 
director three terms. On December 14, 1898, Mr. Davis was united in 
marriage to Miss Henrietta B. Guest, a daughter of Charles B. and 
Louise B. Guest, of Salem, New Jersey. Mrs. Davis' father was one of 
the prominent business men of his town, being identified with the hard- 
ware and plumbing business in Salem for forty years. Four children 
have blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Davis: Kennett, born in 1899, 
in the U. S. Navy Yeomen School; Miriam G, attending high school, 


was born in 1901 ; Henry and Helen are twins and were born in 1910, 
and were the first twins born in the city of El Centro. 

VERN M. BISHOP is numbered among the representative men of El 
Centro. Among his fraternal brothers he is known as one of the most 
reliable and worthy representatives in his chosen lodge. Mr. Bishop has 
been honored by the members of the B. P. O. E. and now holds the 
highest office that lodge can bestow on any of its members, that of 
"Exalted Ruler." This office he has held since 1917. He was born at 
Mt. Vernon, Ohio, June 19, 1875, a son of Ira D. and Albina (Mar- 
shall) Bishop. Mr. Bishop received his education in the public and 
high schools of Aurora, Nebraska. Later he attended the Bradley Poly- 
technic School at Peoria, Illinois, and in 1890 he took the horological 
and optical course, graduating from this college. He was identified with 
his profession in various places before coming to El Centro, California. 
In 191 3 he engaged in business here with E. B. Smith, where he has 
met with marked success. Mr. Bishop was united in marriage in Santa 
Ana, California, September 26, 1906, to Miss Nan Cutler. One daugh- 
ter, Virginia, was born to them on September 22, 1912. Mr. Bishop's 
ancestors are of German extraction, but came to this country previous 
to the Revolutionary War, and settled first in Rhode Island. 

HENRY L. LOUD. — This history presents the record of no other 
citizen more thoroughly infused with the spirit of public progress than 
the subject of this review. Henry L. Loud has been identified with real 
estate interests of Imperial County, and has maintained offices in which 
he does a general real estate, insurance and investment business at 136 
N. Fifth Street. He was born in Pomona, California, April 11, 1892, a 
son of Charles L. and Margaret (Eccles) Loud, both residing in Po- 
mona. Henry L. acquired his education in the public and high schools 
of Pomona, after which he entered Stanford University, where he 
graduated with the class of 1913, receiving the degree of A. B. He im- 
mediately, after finishing his education, embarked in the real estate 
business without previous experience. Mr. Loud was encouraged when 
he engaged in this business and it shows what may be accomplished 
when determination and energy lead the way. He has large realty hold- 
ings of his own, and he leases 1200 acres across the line in Mexico. He 


raises cotton, corn and alfalfa and now is numbered among the sub- 
stantial farmers in this locality. Politically, he is a Republican. He was 
married in Los Angeles June 28, 1916, to Miss Marguerite Knox, a 
daughter of Mrs. Regina Knox, of Los Angeles. To Mr. and Mrs. Loud 
has been born one daughter, Margaret. They have a wide circle of 
friends and are held in high esteem by all who know them socially and 
in a business way. 

JOSEPH F. SEYMOUR, JR., one of the prominent and influential 
attorneys of Imperial County, is a native-born citizen and a son of one 
of the representative families of Oakland, California. He has been ac- 
tively identified with Imperial County for some years and is one of the 
real progressive lawyers of the city of El Centro. He was born in Oak- 
land, California, September 7, 1881, a son of J. F. and Susan A. (Rey- 
nolds) Seymour. Joseph F. acquired his education in the public schools 
of Benicia and high schools of Oakland and graduated from the Uni- 
versity of Southern California, June 16th, 1904, receiving the degree of 
LL. B. Mr. Seymour started to practice his profession in Los Angeles, 
and then removed to El Centro. He is a member of the County Bar 
Association, chairman of the City Improvement Committee of the El 
Centro Chamber of Commerce, being listed as number one among the 
members; a member of the El Centro Fire Department. Fraternally 
Mr. Seymour is a member of the Knights of Columbus and the F. O. 
E., and serves as president of the Associated Chambers of Commerce 
of Imperial County. Politically he is a Republican, having taken active 
leadership in the "dry"' movement. Mr. Seymour's principal work is 
trial work. Mr. Seymour was united in marriage in Los Angeles, Cali- 
fornia, October 15th, 1905, to Miss Lynlie Eldridge, daughter of Ed- 
ward (deceased) and Ora Eldridge. Mrs. Seymour's mother makes her 
home in El Centro. To Mr. and Mrs. Seymour have been born two 
children, Katherine L., aged eleven, and Eldridge, aged eight. Mr. Sey- 
mour's ancestors are numbered among the pioneers of Vermont. 

ARGYLE McLACHLAN. — The man bearing the name which heads 
this review is one of the well known men of Imperial Valley. He is an 
enterprising, progressive and public spirited man and a prominent fac- 
tor in the development of the county. He was born in Groton, New 


York, July 12, 1882, a son of Duncan and Hannah E. (Hill) McLach- 
lan. He acquired his education in the public and high school at Dryden. 
N. Y. He then entered the University of Syracuse, N. Y., in 1900 and 
graduated from that institution with the class of 1904, receiving the 
degree of A. B. He then entered the government employ in the agricul- 
tural department and became proficient in the department of cotton 
breeding, remaining with the government for a period of ten years. In 
191 5 he resigned from his government position, came to Imperial 
County and was elected president of the cotton growers' association, 
which office he now holds to the entire satisfaction of his associates. 
Mr. McLachlan was united in marriage at Victoria, Texas, December 
20, 1910, to Miss Pauline V. Clark, a daughter of Robert and Pauline 
(Shirkey) Clark. The father of Mrs. McLachlan was an extensive 
cattle dealer and was agent for the Morgan line, extensive shippers in 
the south. To Mr. and Mrs. McLachlan has been born one son, Argyle 
Jr., born September 9, 1915. Mr. McLachlan is popular in both busi- 
ness and social circles, and he and his wife enjoy a large circle of 
friends in Imperial County. Mr. McLachlan's grandfather came from 
Argyleshire, Scotland, to America, in 1854, and is buried in the Groton 
cemetery, N. Y. 

JOHN EDWARD O'NEILL. — Prominent among the business men 
of Calipatria is John Edward O'Neill, general manager of the firm of 
Coats and Williamson, Inc., who are farming under contract with Bal- 
four Guthrie Company, the lessees of ten thousand acres of agricul- 
tural land in the vicinity of Calipatria. Mr. O'Neill is a type of the 
modern, thorough-going and up-to-date successful men of affairs. He 
is a man of splendid executive ability, far-sightedness and practic- 
ability. He is able not only to do ample justice to the business of the 
firm of Coats and Williamson, Inc., but finds time to take an active 
part in a 320-acre ranch with Thomas P. Daly near Calipatria, besides 
being a shareholder with his brother-in-law, M. O. Emert of Calexico, 
in two theaters in that city. Mr. O'Neill was born in Ottawa, Canada, 
October 7, 1893, a son of Andrew and Katherine O'Neill who now re- 
side in Calipatria. He acquired his education in the public schools and 
Ottawa College. At the age of sixteen Mr. O'Neill became stenographer 
for the Canadian Oak Leather Company. At the age of eighteen he 


traveled through Canada for his firm and the following year he was 
promoted and took the management of the Ottawa branch, which posi- 
tion he held until he came to California and to the Imperial Valley. His 
first venture in the Valley was to become identified with the Pacific 
Cotton Company of Calexico, as stenographer. In six months he re- 
signed his position and became associated with his present firm as 
bookkeeper. Owing to his executive ability he forged ahead until he 
became manager of his company. Mr. O'Neill's ancestors were of Irish 
descent and date back a century ago in Canada. He was united in mar- 
riage in Los Angeles, California, January 10, 1918, to Miss Hughina 
Burnet, a native of Van Kleek Hill, Ontario. Mr. O'Neill is part owner 
of the McCollough Building in Calipatria. His rise has been remark- 
able. Such is the case, however, and it is due to the energies of men of 
perseverance and progressive ideas that Calipatria and the surrounding 
territory is at present in such a prosperous condition. 

JAMES E. HODGE began his independent career at an early age and 
his record since that time furnishes many splendid examples of the 
value of energy and perseverance in the attainment of success. Mr. 
Hodge was born in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, October 19, 1850, a son 
of William and Nancy (Hazzard) Hodge, both of whom are deceased 
and buried at Columbia, Missouri. He attended the country schools, re- 
ceiving a limited education, and owing to the fact that his brothers en- 
listed in the war on the side of the Confederacy, James E. was obliged 
to assist on the home place and provide for his parents. Here he re- 
mained until he reached the age of thirty-two, and two years after his 
marriage. He then engaged in farming with his brother-in-law, W. W. 
McKim. They purchased the farm of Mrs. Hodge's father which they 
operated until 1885, when Mr. Hodge disposed of his holdings. He 
then engaged in the mercantile business in Stephens, Missouri, where 
he remained until 1898. He then removed to Fulton, Mo., where he 
remained in business until 1903. Mr. Hodge then went to St. Louis, 
Mo., where he carried on a teaming and contracting business, remain- 
ing in St. Louis until he came to California and located in Imperial 
County, which was in 1906. Mr. Hodge was impressed with the possi- 
bilities of this Valley and purchased 360 acres, where he farmed with 
success. He still owns 160 acres six miles east of Imperial, which he 


has rented. December 13, 1880, Mr. Hodge was united in marriage to 
Miss Jennie McKim at Calloway County, Mo., a daughter of Joseph M. 
and Mary ( Ayres) McKim, both deceased and buried in the Mt. Olivet 
Cemetery in Calloway County, Mo. Mr. and Mrs. Hodge have three 
sons and one daughter, Lona, wife of F. P. Wade, residing in Centralia, 
Mo. ; William M., identified with Varney Brothers at El Centro, Cal. ; 
Walter F., associated with his father in business; Edward McKim, a 
resident of St. Louis, Mo. The family is of Scotch origin, but has been 
in America for several centuries. Three brothers of Mr. Hodge fought 
in the Civil War, his brother John was killed in action and Samuel died 
in a war prison in St. Louis after the surrender of Vicksburg. Eli, an- 
other brother, who was in Shelby's brigade, is still a resident of Colum- 
bia, Mo. The family is one of the representative and highly esteemed 
families of Imperial County. 

WILLIAM FLEMING. — One of the successful and representative 
business men of El Centro has been a resident of the county since 191 1. 
He has been manager of the Auto Tire Company, Inc., located at 481 
Main Street, since April, 1917. He was born at Hopkinsville, Ken- 
tucky, April 30th, 1876, a son of R. D. and Anna Virginia (Watson) 1 
Fleming. Mr. Fleming's father died in 1899 and is buried in the ceme- 
tery at Warrenton, North Carolina, and his mother is at present a resi- 
dent of Palmer's Springs, Virginia. Mr. Fleming acquired his educa- 
tion in the public and high school of Warrenton, North Carolina, the 
Wake Forest College of North Carolina, and the University of Vir- 
ginia, where he received the degree of A. B. in 1898. Completing his 
education he became connected with a wholesale grocery company of 
Richmond, Virginia, until 1905. Mr. Fleming then went on his farm in 
North Carolina until 1908. Returning to Richmond, he then became 
connected with the firm of C. R. Carey & Company, wholesale grocers, 
where he was previously connected. He later removed to Clovis, New 
Mexico, where he became identified with the Santa Fe railroad, as ac- 
countant. He remained in the employ of the Santa Fe until he came to 
El Centro, which was in 191 1. He became connected with Edgar Broth- 
ers and had charge of the office and clerical force until he became asso- 
ciated with the Auto Tire Company, Inc., as manager. Fraternally, Mr. 
Fleming is affiliated with the Masonic lodge, being a member of the 



Blue Lodge, Chapter, Commandery and Shrine. Politically he is a Dem- 
ocrat. Mr. Fleming was married in Humboldt, Tennessee, December 
18, 1901, to Miss Margaret Scott, a daughter of Dr. and Mrs. J. D. 
Scott, both deceased. To Mr. and Mrs. Fleming has been born one 
daughter, Margaret. Mr. Fleming's ancestors were of Scotch -Irish 

PERRY N. SIMS, M. D. — Conspicuous among the enterprising and 
popular citizens of Imperial County, is Dr. Perry N. Sims, a well- 
known physician of Calexico, who, during the comparatively short 
time in which he has been here engaged in the practice of his profes- 
sion, has met with noteworthy success. Dr. Sims was born in Colum- 
bus, Indiana, August 21, 1884, son of John and Mary (Ross) Sims, the 
parents of two children, the subject of this review, and a brother, Wal- 
ter, identified with the American Wire and Steel Company. Dr. Sims 
acquired his education in the public and high schools of his native city, 
after which he attended the Chicago College of Medicine and Surgery, 
graduating with the class of 1910. He served as interne in St. Elizabeth 
Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. He went to Mexico and practiced two 
years in Chihuahua, and was resident physician of the Sierra Mining 
Company. Owing to the revolution, he left Mexico and located in Cal- 
exico in 1915, where he has met with gratifying success and has since 
practiced his profession. In September, 1917, Dr. Sims was appointed 
City Physician Health Officer, and is a member of the Board of Health. 
Fraternally he is affiliated with the K. of P., and is Past Chancellor of 
his lodge, and the I. O. O. F. of Calexico. He was united in marriage to 
Miss Ethel Beatty, May 18, 1912, a native of Canada. To this union 
have been born John Ross, born April 15, 191 3; and Margaret Mary, 
born July 24, 1916. Dr. Sims' success has been attained through the 
medium of his own efforts and he is today a worthy representative of 
his profession. The esteem in which he is held by his associates testifies 
to his absolute integrity. 

ALMON A. HALL. — Prominent among the wide-awake and progres- 
sive business men of Calipatria, is Almon A. Hall, proprietor of the 
Calipatria Drug Company. Mr. Hall came to the county in April, 1914. 
He was born in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada, February 17, 1884, a son 


of Asa and Matilda (Irwin) Hall. Mr. Hall's father is now serving as 
deputy city auditor of Los Angeles, and his mother passed away in Los 
Angeles and is buried in the Hollywood cemetery. The ancestors of 
Mr. Hall are of old Scotch origin, and his forefathers were among the 
first to settle in Canada. Almon A. acquired his education in the Azusa, 
California, public schools, graduating from the high school of that 
place in 1903. For three years he took charge of his father's orange 
grove. From 1906 to 1914 Mr. Hall was secretary to Percy H. Clark of 
Los Angeles. In 1914 he came to Imperial County and served as sec- 
retary to the manager of the Imperial Farm Land Association. He is a 
man of culture and talent, whose mind has been broadened by coming 
in contact with men of affairs. Mr. Hall has made most judicious in- 
vestments in the valley and in addition to being proprietor of the Cali- 
patria Drug Company, he farms eighty acres of valuable land on which 
he grows cotton and corn. Fraternally, he is a member of the Masonic 
lodge, holding membership in Arlington Lodge of Los Angeles. He is 
a member of the Scottish Rite of Imperial Valley. Both in his business 
and agricultural pursuits, Mr. Hall is carrying on his labors after the 
most approved modern methods, and is meeting with well deserved 

RUFUS E. JAUMAN needs no introduction to the people of Imperial 
County. He has become widely and favorably known as a man whose 
integrity and excellent business ability constitute him a factor in com- 
munity advancement and progress. He is a native of Delphos, Ohio, 
and was born April 12, 1870, and is a son of Antone and Crencentia 
(Graf) Jauman. His father died November, 1913, at the age of 85 
years, and is buried in the cemetery at Delphos, Ohio. Mr. Jauman's 
mother, who is in her eighty-seventh year, still resides in Delphos. The 
subject of this review acquired a limited education in the country 
school. He assisted his father on the farm and attended school during 
the winter months. After he reached his thirteenth birthday he did not 
attend school any longer, but assisted on the home place until he be- 
came of age. He then took up the tailoring business and followed this 
vocation three years. Owing to his eyesight he gave up the tailoring 
business and engaged as clerk in the furniture business, remaining two 
years. He then worked for the Toledo, St. Louis and Kansas City rail- 


road, as firemen, for eight years. He was promoted to locomotive en- 
gineer and after four years' service he was in a wreck which disabled 
him for three years. Mr. Jauman then came to Los Angeles, where he 
engaged in the real estate business. He became acquainted with Ira L. 
Wilson, who told him of the wonderful possibilities in this county, and 
he decided to remove here and engaged with Mr. Wilson in the real 
estate line for two years. Mr. Jauman buys and sells all classes of real 
estate, specializing in ranches. When he came here there were no rail- 
roads and El Centro had not been thought of at that time. In event he 
missed the stage at Flowing Wells it would be necessary to walk to 
Imperial. When El Centro was started Mr. Jauman was the first real 
estate man to handle the townsite. He has the distinction of being the 
first city treasurer, and for five years he served on the school board. 
Fraternally, Mr. Jauman is a member of the B. P. O. E. of Yuma, Ari- 
zona. He assisted in organizing the K. O. T. M. of Delphos, Ohio. He 
was married in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 26, 1897, to Miss Marie Goetz, 
a daughter of Joseph and Rosa Goetz, residents of Cincinnati, Ohio. 
Mr. Jauman was twice married. His first wife died December 23, 1900, 
and is buried in Rosedale cemetery, Cincinnati. To this union was born 
one son, Karl, born August 9, 1900. The second marriage was to Miss 
Mary S. Pritchard, August 12, 1914, a daughter of Mary S. Pritchard 
of Denver, Colorado, both deceased. Mr. Jauman owns considerable 
valuable property in El Centro and has a fine residence on West El 
Centro Street. Mr. Jauman makes a specialty of improved lands and 
has had his real estate office at 472 Main Street since 1907. 

WALTER L. HODGES. — Prominent among the leading business men 
of Imperial County may be mentioned Walter L. Hodges, president of 
the Hodges Cattle and Loan Company, which was organized Novem- 
ber 1, 191 5. He was born in Richmond, Vermont, July 18, 1865, a son 
of Norman and Caroline (Smith) Hodges. His grandfather was a pio- 
neer of Vermont. Walter L. acquired his education in Stowe, Vermont, 
leaving school at an early age. He went to St. Paul, Minnesota, where 
he found employment in a hardware store. Later he clerked in a carpet 
store; later he became identified with F. M. Lytzen, a wholesale cigar 
firm, as bookkeeper, and later was employed as traveling salesman for 
a period of five years. Later he traveled for Conway and Knickerbocker 


of Sioux City, Iowa. Mr. Hodges' father engaged in the lumber busi- 
ness at Alta, Iowa, and Walter L. took charge of his father's business 
for about four years. Owing to his mother's health he accompanied her 
to California, remaining with her until her death. Mr. Hodges became 
interested in a small way in the rock and gravel business, and owing to 
his management the business grew until it is now the leading concern 
on the coast of its kind. During 1916 the Pacific Rock & Gravel Com- 
pany, of which Mr. Hodges is president, shipped 26,000 cars. The com- 
pany owns two hundred acres and leases fourteen hundred acres of 
rock and gravel of superior quality. He served as president and is now 
vice-president of the National Bank of Monrovia, and the Granite 
Savings Bank. Mr. Hodges owned seven hundred and sixty acres of 
land in the Valley. He disposed of four hundred acres ; the balance of 
his land is under cultivation and receives his personal attention. Fra- 
ternally, he is a member of the Masonic Lodge of Alta, Iowa; the B. P. 
O. E. of Los Angeles, and the K. of P. of Alhambra, California. Mr. 
Hodges was married in Los Angeles, California, May 22, 1902, to Miss 
Agnes Alexander, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Alexander. Her 
father is deceased and buried in the Evergreen Cemetery, Los Angeles. 
Mrs. Hodges' mother resides in Los Angeles, and is eighty-eight years 
of age. Mr. and Mrs. Hodges have one daughter, Marion Ynez, born 
November 1, 1904, a student at Pomona Convent. Mr. Hodges' parents 
are both buried in the Evergreen Cemetery, Los Angeles, California. 
His father died November 22, 1909, and his mother passed away in 

WALTER C. THOMAS. — In reviewing the lives of men of Imperial 
County, due mention should be made of the name of Walter C. 
Thomas. He has been an important factor in the upbuilding of a busi- 
ness that has meant much to the people of El Centro and adjoining lo- 
calities. Mr. Thomas comes from a Colonial and honored family. His 
early ancestors came to America on the Mayflower, and fought in the 
Revolutionary War. His grandfather also fought in the Mexican and 
Civil Wars. On his wife's side of the house also were those staunch 
Americans with a history. Walter C. Thomas was born in Meridian, 
Texas, June 20, 1887, a son of Micajah and Lucina (Blythe) Thomas. 
Mr. Thomas received his education in the public schools of California, 

^ CC/ /O^^T-xrv^^S$) 


and at the age of sixteen he started out in life and followed various 
vocations. He engaged in the transfer business for three years. Com- 
ing to Imperial County he went into the bottling business, with office 
and factory at 126 South Third Street, El Centre He has been here 
since October, 1908. He was married to Miss Lyle French, a daughter 
of Mr. and Mrs. George French, January 19, 1909. Mrs. Thomas' 
father is engaged in grading and railroad construction work. To Mr. 
and Mrs. Thomas have been born three children : Walter C. Jr., Marian 
L. and George D. Mr. Thomas is a progressive and enterprising busi- 
ness man and gives his support to any movement for the betterment 
of conditions in El Centro and Imperial County. 

LESLIE OAKLEY BANNISTER.— Prominent among the represen- 
tative ranchers of Imperial County is Leslie Oakley Bannister, whose 
name heads this sketch. Mr. Bannister came to Imperial County in Sep- 
tember, 1905, and was born at Brant ford, Ontario, Canada, December 
14, 1873, the son of Ely and Mary Bannister. Both have since passed 
away and are buried at Ontario, Canada. Mr. Bannister is the owner of 
a sixty-acre ranch in Water Company No. 8, in the Westmoreland dis- 
trict, and is held in high esteem owing to the broad and conservative 
methods which he is constantly employing on his ranch property. The 
family is of old English origin. Mr. Bannister received his education 
at Brantford, Ontario, during an early age, and left school at fourteen, 
following which he assisted his father on the home farm until he 
reached the age of 17 years. He then went to Chicago, working for the 
Pullman Company in their shops during 1892 and 1893, this being dur- 
ing the World's Fair period. At that time California was the magnet 
which drew Mr. Bannister westward, and after severing his connec- 
tions with the Pullman Company he left immediately for California. 
Upon his arrival here he engaged in team work in the orange orchards 
and nurseries for eighteen months. He also followed this vocation at 
Pomona for a short time. After being in the San Jacinto Valley for 
about eight years, where he worked on ranches in general, in addition 
to having charge of the water system for the Hemet Land & Water 
Company for about six years, Mr. Bannister made up his mind to try 
the Imperial Valley. He arrived in this county in 1905. His first employ- 
ment was as foreman on the Chaplin ranch and later with the National 


Lumber Company. Shortly afterwards he put in a crop of cantaloupes 
with a partner, and following this pursuit, which was unsuccessful, he 
secured a position as forest ranger for the United States Government, 
having had previous experience prior to his arrival in California. Hav- 
ing taken the civil service examination in California, Mr. Bannister 
followed his ranger job for three years and eight months. Later in his 
career Mr. Bannister went to Westmoreland, where he laid out the 
townsite which is now such a credit to the community. He planted 6000 
trees, made the survey of the streets, and looked after the work for the 
townsite people for about two years, when he bought his present prop- 
erty, which under his able supervision has been brought up to a high 
state of cultivation. Mr. Bannister has been very successful in raising 
milo maize, and on the home ranch has constructed a pretentious resi- 
dence which is one of the show places of the county. Mr. Bannister is 
a Republican and has also acted in the capacity of school trustee in his 
district. He was married at San Jacinto, California, December 12, 1898, 
to Miss Mary Worden, daughter of Henry and Lauretia Worden. The 
father of Mrs. Bannister has passed away and is buried in the San Ja- 
cinto cemetery. The widow resides at Hemet. To Mr. and Mrs. Ban- 
nister have been born four children : Gladys, born near Hemet, Cali- 
fornia ; Helen, born in the same house at Hemet ; Esther, born at San 
Jacinto, and George, born in the Imperial Valley. Owing to the fact 
that he is the owner of one of the model ranches in the Imperial Val- 
ley, Mr. Bannister is entitled to a great deal of credit for his progressive 
methods adopted in following his chosen line. 

BENJAMIN F. PADDACK has the distinction of being chosen secre- 
tary and treasurer of the Bachelors' Club of Calipatria, and has served 
as such since January, 1917. During his office he has fostered enterprises 
and measures which were projected for the general good of the town. 
Mr. Paddack's family has been worthily and prominently linked with 
the annals of American history from the start of Cincinnati, Ohio. His 
grandfather and grandmother sailed down the Ohio river in a flat boat 
and took up their abode on the banks of the Ohio where Cincinnati is 
now located. Scarcely two hundred people were there at that time. Pad- 
dack Road was named after his grandfather, and the ground where 
the county infirmary now stands was sold by the grandfather in the 


early days, and McMillan Avenue, in Cincinnati, was named after Mr. 
Paddack's grandfather. Benjamin F., the subject of this review, was 
born in Cincinnati, Ohio, September 3, 1865, a son of Benjamin F. and 
Mary (McMillan) Paddack. He received his education in the public 
and high schools of that city. At the age of seventeen he entered the 
employ of James L. Haven, as office boy ; at various times he was pro- 
moted until he was made superintendent. Remaining with this firm for 
fifteen years he resigned and became associated as superintendent of 
the McKinnon Sheet and Metal Works of St. Catherines, Ontario, Can- 
ada. Later he returned to Cincinnati and was engaged as manufactur- 
er's agent for several years when he came to California. In 1912 Mr. 
Paddack engaged with the Bellridge Oil Company of Kern County, 
California, where he remained until he came to Calipatria, and became 
identified as office man with Coats' and Williamson, Inc., who are 
developing 10,000 acres of land in the vicinity of Calipatria. Mr. Pad- 
dack was united in marriage with Miss Coralyn Bayless, daughter of 
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel O. Bayless. Mrs. Paddack's father, at one time, 
was general counsel for the Big Four railroad. His death occurred in 
Cincinnati and he is buried in the Spring Grave cemetery of that city. 
Mrs. Paddack's mother resides in Los Angeles, California. Mr. and 
Mrs. Paddack have one son, Bayless, born February 22, 1903. Mr. Pad- 
dack takes an active interest in all matters pertaining to the develop- 
ment of better conditions of Calipatria and is popular among his fellow 

WILLIAM JOHN MEAGHER.— The progress made in mercantile 
lines in El Centro has been brought about by the efforts of men of pro- 
gressive ideas. W. J. Meagher and Philip Tull, proprietors of the Val- 
ley Tent and Awning Company, have devoted their best efforts to make 
this concern one of the leading houses in Imperial County. Mr. Meag- 
her was born in Grand Rapids, Wisconsin, May 5, 1883, a son of Mr. 
and Mrs. M. Meagher. His father is deceased and his mother resides in 
Salt Lake City, Utah. Mr. Meagher acquired his education in the pub- 
lic schools and his college education in Madison, Wisconsin. He spent 
many years in his native state. The firm was incorporated October 14, 
1914. Mr. Hall, previous to its incorporation, was the originator of the 
business. It is now conducted on broad business lines and does a whole- 


sale as well as retail business in Imperial Valley, and elsewhere. The 
firm makes a specialty of manufacturing tents, awnings, cotton sacks 
and corn bags. They also do expert upholstering and make new auto- 
mobile tops. This firm was far-seeing in its plans as it saw the future 
possibilities of Imperial Valley and adjacent territory. The result is 
they have built up a large business and have been rewarded with suc- 
cess from the start. Mr. Meagher was married in Los Angeles August 
7, 1917, to Miss Lottie M. Barrow. Mr. and Mrs. Meagher have a host 
of friends in El Centro. He is president and manager and Mr. Tull is 
secretary and treasurer of the Valley Tent and Awning Company. 
They are both esteemed by their business associates. 

CARY K. COOPER. — Among the men who, by reason of their busi- 
ness ability and enterprise, have come to be regarded as representative 
citizens and leading business men of Imperial Valley is numbered Cary 
K. Cooper, assistant secretary and manager of the Pioneer Title Insur- 
ance Company, with offices at 559 Main Street, El Centro, since its 
organization in March, 1916. Mr. Cooper was born at Table Rock, Ne- 
braska, September 28, 1878, a son of O. A. and Ella (Merrifield) Coop- 
er. His mother passed away in Nebraska in 1905. His father still re- 
sides there and is numbered among the highly respected citizens of that 
locality. Cary K., the subject of this review, received his education in 
the grammar and high schools of his county. He attended the Univer- 
sity of Nebraska and took a business course. He became identified with 
the electric light company of Humboldt, Nebraska, and held the office 
of manager. Later he installed several electric light and telephone com- 
panies in Nebraska and served as postmaster for a period of six years 
at Humboldt. In 1912 Mr. Cooper removed to the coast and located in 
Los Angeles. Here he became identified with the Pacific States Elec- 
tric Company. He traveled extensively for his concern and later re- 
moved to Imperial Valley. Politically Mr. Cooper is affiliated with the 
Republican party and socially he holds membership in the Alpha Theta 
Xi, a college fraternity. He was united in marriage June 28, 1899, to 
Miss Mae Fellers, a daughter of A. H. and Mary Jane Fellers, both 
residents of Humboldt, Nebraska. Mr. Cooper richly deserves what- 
ever success has come to him, for he now holds a prominent position 
in the business world. 

\P / ^0<' XfU CAj^A^Cr-L^ 


IRA L. WILSON has been actively and successfully identified with 
the business interests of Imperial County along realty lines since 1903, 
and he is today one of the leaders in his chosen field. Mr. Wilson is a 
native of Franklin County, New York, and was born February 13, 
1872, a son of E. N. and Alice (Hoxey) Wilson, who now reside in Los 
Angeles. Ira L. Wilson, the subject of this sketch, acquired his educa- 
tion in the public schools of his native county and state. Finishing his 
education at a comparatively early date, he decided to cast his lot with 
the Golden West, and came to Redlands, California. Here he engaged 
in contracting and building and has the distinction of being the young- 
est contractor that ever engaged in business in that city. Before he had 
reached the age of twenty-one he had the contract for and erected the 
First Congregational Church of that city, besides many other exten- 
sive contracts, all of which were proof of his mechanical skill. Mr. 
Wilson continued in the contracting business until 1900, when he start- 
ed the Whiting Supply Company at Imperial and Holtville, which was 
reorganized and called the National Lumber Company. He engaged in 
that business until 1907. In that year he organized the "C Wilson About 
It ( ?)" Land Company at Imperial, later removing to El Centro and 
carrying on business in San Diego also. In connection with his busi- 
ness interests along realty lines, loans and investments, he main- 
tains an office at 472 Main Street, El Centro. Mr. Wilson devotes time 
to his own ranch holdings. On July 28, 1893, Mr. Wilson was united 
in marriage to Miss Nora Crum, daughter of C. C. Crum of Redlands, 
California. The father of Mrs. Wilson resides in Redlands and is num- 
bered among the substantial residents of that community. The mother 
of Mrs. Wilson passed away in 1905. The family is of old American 
origin, and Mr. Wilson's grandfather and his two brothers were veter- 
ans of the Civil war and were killed in action. Mrs. Wilson's father 
was also in action in the Civil war. The subject of this review was one 
of the pioneers on this desert and has the distinction of occupying the 
fourth tent house in this locality, and operated the first automobile in 
Imperial Valley. He erected the Alamo Hotel at Holtville, which was 
the first building erected, and which marked the town site of Holtville. 

HUGH P. WILKINSON. — Imperial County, the youngest county in 
the state, is one of the most progressive and prosperous, and justly 



claims a high order of citizenship. The county is, and has been favored 
with men who have given substantial aid in the promotion of the best 
interests of this favored section of the state. In this connection the sub- 
ject of this review demands recognition as he has been actively engaged 
in the county since 1909. He is a public-spirited citizen and his busi- 
ness methods demonstrate the power of activity and honesty in the 
business world. Mr. Wilkinson has been proprietor of the Wilkinson 
general store of Niland since August 1, 1914. He was born in Crooks- 
ton, Minnesota, September 27, 1886, a son of Samuel A. and Violet H. 
(Barteau) Wilkinson. His father was a pioneer merchant of Crookston 
and died in 1894, and is buried in Madison, Wisconsin. Mr. Wilkin- 
son's mother resides in San Diego and the family dates back to early 
English origin. Hugh P. acquired his education in the public and high 
schools of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and the Louisiana State Univer- 
sity. He took up civil engineering and leaving the university in 1904, he 
followed this vocation, being engaged in canal and land surveying in 
Beaumont, Texas. Remaining in Texas for several seasons he went to 
St. Louis, Missouri, where he was engaged in civil engineering work 
for six months, when he came to California. Mr. Wilkinson worked in 
the Santa Fe Railroad office at San Diego, where he took up telegraphy. 
He served in that capacity and as station agent throughout the Valley 
for the Southern Pacific until he resigned to engage in the general mer- 
cantile business at Niland. Here he has given substantial aid in the 
promotion of the best interests of this favored section of Imperial Val- 
ley. Politically, Mr. Wilkinson is a Democrat and is serving as school 
trustee. He was united in marriage at Beaumont, California, August 23, 
1910, with Miss Ada L. Johnson, daughter of John and Martha L. 
(Sumner) Johnson. Her father settled in California in 1854, with his 
parents, and followed mining. He died in 1916, at the age of 77 years, 
and is buried in Beaumont, California. Mrs. Wilkinson's mother makes 
her home in Niland. Mrs. Wilkinson is now serving as postmaster of 
Niland and is held in the highest regard in the community. Mr. Wilkin- 
son maintains a forty-acre ranch near Niland which he secured in 1914. 

HARRY H. CLARK. — In this age of colossal enterprise is demanded 
constructive power, and this demand has been such as to develop and 
mature many veritable captains of industry. Such title is eminently 



worthy of ascription to Harry H. Clark, who has been an influential 
factor in connection with the greatest of enterprises, especially in the 
development of mining properties, in which connection he has gained a 
national reputation. He is now general manager of the Imperial Valley 
Farm Land Association, and makes his home at Calipatria, California. 
Mr. Clark came to Imperial County in October, 1913. He was born at 
Fort Wayne, Indiana, May 22, 1858, a son of Allen and Martha (Mas- 
sen)! Clark. The family is of old English origin. His great grandfather 
died at the age of 108 years. His birth occurred in the United States 
and he was buried at Bluffton, Indiana. In every sense of the word, 
Mr. Clark is a self-made man. He had no educational advantages. This 
handicap he effectually overcome in later years; for he profited much 
from self-discipline and through the lessons he gained in the school of 
political experience. At the age of fifteen he left his native state and 
for some time previous to this, he worked as a bootblack and sold 
papers in Indianapolis. Going to Texas, he worked as a cowboy for 
four years. Leaving Texas, he went to Kansas, where he found work 
on the farms for two years. In 1879 Mr. Clark came to California and 
found employment in the vineyards. He soon became general manager 
for the Egger's Wine and Raisin Vineyards and later became general 
manager of the Kimball Prune Orchard at Hanford, then the largest 
French prune orchard in the world. The two latter positions he held 
for five years. The following five years Mr. Clark was western manager 
for the P. P. Mast interests which included mines, orchards and vine- 
yards. Going to Arizona, he became manager of one of the largest 
mining interests in the state for eighteen months. Mr. Clark then looked 
after his own mining interests in California, which he carried on suc- 
cessfully. Disposing of his interests he went to Alaska and there was 
interested in the 'mines for some years, and in 1902 he returned to the 
states. Mr. Clark, on his return from Alaska, went to Tonopah, Ne- 
vada, and was offered a salary of $6,000.00 per year to manage one of 
the big mines, but preferred to direct his own operations. He was one 
of the organizers of Goldfield, and soon had holdings in the leading 
camps in Nevada. Mr. Clark was the owner of the town of Bullfrog, 
Nevada, and controlled the mines. It was his ceaseless efforts and un- 
tiring energy that made Bullfrog. He was one of the pioneers and 
when others turned back, he pushed on with every confidence. But for 



Mr. Clark the town of Bullfrog would have been miles west of its 
present location ; but for him there would have been no such marvelous 
water supply. He was instrumental in building the railroad through 
that mineralized section. He built his own telephone line from Bullfrog 
to Goldfield, a distance of sixty-seven miles. Mr. Clark was the prime 
mover in what was reputed to be the most gigantic power scheme ever 
launched up to that period. He organized a five million dollar company 
for the purpose of supplying Los Angeles, San Francisco and other 
cities in California and Nevada with power. He and his associates ac- 
quired practically all the water rights on King River and had a total of 
400,000 horsepower. Mr. Clark was the chief promoter of this immense 
project. He spent one year in the leading mining camps of South Amer- 
ica. Mr. Clark still has large mining interests in Mono, California, and 
Nevada. He was requested to make a report on 47,000 acres of land in 
Calipatria, on which California capitalists held an option, and on his re- 
port the company purchased this large tract, and Mr. Clark became 
general manager. He has one of the show places of the north end com- 
prising 160 acres. Politically, he is a Republican. Fraternally, he is a 
member of the Masonic lodge of Brawley and is a life member of the 
Elks lodge of Reno, Nevada. He also holds membership in the Fores- 
ters of America. Mr. Clark was married in Fresno County, California, 
in 1882, to Miss Mary N. Reed, daughter of Hon. Judge Reed, de- 
ceased, of Mariposa County, formerly superior judge of that district. 
Mrs. Clark's mother still resides in Mariposa County and is in her 
ninety-first year. To Mr. and Mrs. Clark have been born one daughter, 
Alice, wife of Luther G. Brown, a prominent attorney of Los Angeles. 
Mrs. Brown is past secretary of the Friday Morning Club of that city. 

FRED C. PALMER, proprietor of Fritz Cafe and Bakery at Calipat- 
ria, California, is one of the pioneers of that place. He originally start- 
ed business in a tent and achieved success along his chosen field. Mr. 
Palmer came to Imperial County in 1905. He was born in Elmira, New 
York, October 25, 1864, a son of Martin and Mary (Copley) Palmer. 
The family are of old English and Irish origin and the family on his 
father's side came to America in the very early days. His parents are 
buried at Elmira, New York. Mr. Palmer received his education in the 
public schools of his native town; at the age of eighteen he started out 



in life to make his own livelihood. His father for twenty-five years held 
the position as manager of the Western Union Telegraph Company at 
Elmira, New York, and Fred C, the subject of this review, was asso- 
ciated with him for a period of four years. Mr. Palmer came west and 
located in Denver, Colorado, for a time and then removed to Riverside, 
California, where he became identified with James H. Fountain, a groc- 
eryman and rancher. Mr. Palmer was connected with the grocery de- 
partment for a period of nine years. He then worked for several fruit 
companies in various parts of the western slope in various capacities 
until he came to Imperial County. He had contracts in the Valley dur- 
ing the cantaloupe season, and, seeing the possibilities when Calipatria 
was opened, Mr. Palmer engaged in his present business, in which line 
he has achieved success. He is well known and has many friends in his 
community. Politically Mr. Palmer is a Democrat, but has never as- 
pired to office. 

JOHN E. ROSSON. — An enterprising and prosperous representative 
of business interests in Calexico is John E. Rosson, and is an active 
factor in the commercial circles of Imperial Valley. Mr. Rosson was 
born in Green County, Missouri, February 17, 1845, a son °f A. P. and 
Nancy (Overton) Rosson, both deceased. The subject of this sketch 
had little chance for education. He assisted on the home place. After 
leaving home he farmed in Mississippi, Arkansas, Idaho and Texas. 
This vocation he followed up to ten years ago. In October, 191 1, he 
came to California and to Imperial County. He started the present busi- 
ness — soda works — and has since been identified with the business. Mr. 
Rosson was twice married; to the first union there were born three 
children, and to the second were born two children. His son, John, is 
a farmer near Calexico; James W. resides in Calexico, and Lizzie, wife 
of D. A. Waters, lives in Northern California. Mr. Rosson is a member 
of the Masonic and Odd Fellows lodges of Texas. Mr. Rosson has 
many friends and acquaintances in Imperial Valley. 

CHARLES M. BERRY, numbered among the representative men of 
Imperial County, now serves as secretary of the Laguna Water Com- 
pany with offices in El Centre He was born in Nelsonville, Ohio, Sep- 
tember 23, i860, a son of Thomas and Hanna (Charleton) Berry. His 



father was for many years superintendent of the coal mines in Nelson- 
ville. His death occurred June 4, 1899, and Mr. Berry's mother passed 
away January 19, 1903. Charles M. Berry acquired his education in the 
public and high schools of Nelsonville. He afterwards took a business 
course in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. At the age of nineteen he took a 
position at Nelsonville as bookkeeper. He was promoted and trans- 
ferred to New Straitsville, Ohio, and served as secretary of the C. H. 
C. and I. Co. Removing to Denver, Colorado, he was associated with 
his father in the coal mining business, remaining in Denver for twenty 
years. He engaged in mining in California for three years. In 1913 Mr. 
Berry removed to Imperial County and took the office as assistant as- 
sessor and tax collector for the Imperial Irrigation District, remaining 
in that position until he was made secretary of the Imperial Irrigation 
District. Politically Mr. Berry is a Republican. Fraternally he is a Ma- 
son and holds the office of high priest of El Centro Chapter No. 109. 
Mr. Berry married at Chanute, Kansas, May 6, 1885, to Miss Grace M. 
McCune, a daughter of Jacob and Catherine McCune. Her father's 
death occurred in 1887. Mr. and Mrs. Berry have three daughters and 
one son: Bessie M., wife of Frank H. Mclver of El Centro; Grace I., 
born March 15, 1889; Hazel M., wife of Clark Booher of El Centro; 
Frederick M., born January 27, 1894, now serving in the United States 
Army. Mr. Berry's ancestors came from Yorkshire, England. 

FRANCIS B. FULLER. — Among the strong financial institutions of 
Imperial Valley is the El Centro National Bank, and among the bank- 
ers of prominence in that city is Francis B. Fuller, who has been presi- 
dent of that institution since its organization March 9, 1909. He has 
done much toward securing for his institution the foremost position in 
banking circles that it now occupies. His banking experiences extend 
over many years. Francis B. Fuller was born in the Sugar Valley, Geor- 
gia, January 29, 1862, a son of Samuel O. and Elizabeth (Bates) Ful- 
ler. He acquired his education after he passed his twenty-fourth year. 
Previous to this he had followed agricultural pursuits and rented farms 
both in Georgia and Texas. From the age of twenty-four to twenty-six 
he acquired a common school education. He entered the mercantile 
business and worked one year ; then he rode the range for a period of 
fifteen years, receiving $25.00 per month. In 1898 he was elected Dis- 


trict Clerk by the people of Herford, Texas, which position he held for 
four years. He then became interested in the Herford National Bank, 
which he helped to organize. Later he retired from the Herford Bank 
and organized the Western National Bank of Herford, Texas. He held 
the position as cashier for a period of four years. Mr. Fuller then came 
to California and located in El Centro, where he engaged in the real 
estate business until he organized the El Centro National Bank, which 
was the first national bank organized in El Centro. Mr. Fuller is care- 
ful, painstaking and systematic, and as a result he is a student of hu- 
man nature and conditions ; seldom has he made an error in extending 
credit or making investments. The institution of which he is president 
has greatly prospered through his efforts. He is readily conceded to be 
among the able and well-informed men in banking circles in Southern 
California. Mr. Fuller has large realty holdings in El Centro, as well 
as farm properties. Fraternally he is a member of the Masonic and K. 
of P. lodges. He holds the office of president of the Chamber of Com- 
merce. He was twice married, the first union being at Herford, Texas, 
to Miss Salome Moore. Her death occurred in 1910. To the first union 
were born two children, Jean Luvois and Frances Salome. The second 
marriage occurred May 15, 191 5, to Mrs. Rosa Negus. The great- 
grandparents of Mr. Fuller had fifteen children, fourteen of whom 
lived to be men and women, and the first natural death that occurred in 
that family occurred in 1914. Mr. Fuller's father was killed in action 
during the Civil war. Mr. Fuller erected the first residence in El Centro 
on the present site of the Barbara Worth Hotel. 

HARRY ROBERT BEALE.— The growth of Calipatria in the short 
space of four years from a barren stretch of desert, uncultivated and 
undeveloped in any way, to a community with modern buildings and 
a commercial center of the North End, has been almost phenomenal. 
It has been brought about by men of progressive spirit. One who has 
played an important part in the development of the town is Harry Rob- 
ert Beale, proprietor of the Calipatria Ice and Cold Storage. Mr. Beale 
came to this section before the town was laid out. He is truly a pioneer 
in this section, for he came when there was only a pencil sketch of what 
is now Calipatria. He was born in Brighton, Sussex, England, January 
13, 1877, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Beale, who were old time resi- 


dents of that far-away land. The subject of this review received a lim- 
ited education in London, England. At the age of fourteen he followed 
the seas for some years, coming to Chicago, Illinois, during the World's 
Fair in 1893. In the fall of that year he drifted west and followed 
ranching and mining and was also identified with other pursuits. Hear- 
ing of the wonderful Imperial Valley and the possibilities in this sec- 
tion, he volunteered to take a chance and came to Calipatria. He saw 
the chance to engage in this business and has achieved success through 
his own ability and well directed endeavors. Mr. Beale is now starting 
a commodious plant for general and cold storage and will have an ice 
cream plant in connection. Mr. Beale was married in Pomona, Califor- 
nia, August 4, 1900, to Miss Lillie May Mortensen, daughter of Henry 
and Annie Mortensen of Ogden, Utah. To Mr. and Mrs. Beale have 
been born five children: Calipatria, who has the distinction of being 
the first child born in the town bearing that name ; Etta Christina, Har- 
ry M. Jr., Charles A. and William Howard. Mr. Beale is essentially 
one of the representative men of Imperial County and he has the con- 
fidence and esteem of all his fellowmen. 

WILLIAM H. LAVAYEA. — This history presents the record of no 
other citizen more thoroughly infused with the spirit of public prog- 
ress than the subject of this review, and Imperial Valley numbers him 
among its valued citizens. Mr. Lavayea was born in Missouri, August 
11, 1880, and is a son of William H. and Anna C. (Fable) Lavayea. 
William H. acquired his education in the public schools in California, 
where his parents removed when he was but seven years of age. After 
completing his high school education he entered Stanford University, 
where he remained until 1906. He then became identified with agricul- 
tural pursuits and took an interest in and is a director in the People's 
Abstract Company, 616 Main Street, El Centro, California, March 15, 
1913. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Masonic Lodge. Politically 
he is a Republican. Mr. Lavayea was married at Pasadena, California, 
September 9, 1909, to Miss Gladys Grow. One daughter has been born 
to this union, Eva Rea. The family of Mr. Lavayea originally came to 
this country from France. His grandfather, Mador Lavayea, was in 
charge under General Grant of the government yards in St. Louis and 
assisted in the construction of the war vessels that took part in the 




Civil war. Mr. Lavayea has a fine residence in El Centro, and both he 
and his wife take an active part in the social life of that city. 

HARVEY McCOLLOUGH.— In recording the names of Imperial 
County men, special mention should be made of Harvey McCollough, 
who is a pioneer of this community. He merits the title of self-made 
man, since he has depended on his own resources from his youth up. 
Mr. McCollough was born in Fayette County, Alabama, September 3, 
1862, son of Jasper and Elizabeth McCollough, who were both natives 
of that state. In the parents' family there were four children. Harvey 
acquired a limited education in the public schools. His father was a 
farmer and blacksmith and Harvey learned the trade of blacksmith 
while living at home, and he also took an active part in farm work. At 
the age of seventeen he started out in life. For seventeen years he was 
connected with the Southern Pacific Railroad in the track department. 
In 1906 Mr. McCollough came to Imperial Valley. He was in Calexico 
before the town started and was employed by the water company for 
seven years. In 1913 he engaged in the blacksmith business, in a small 
way, and under his management it grew until he now has one of the 
largest and best equipped shops in the Valley. In 191 4 George Ander- 
son became identified with Mr. McCollough. The firm does all kinds of 
automobile, machinery, wagon and buggy work. Mr. McCollough has 
a ten-acre ranch one mile from Calexico, which has been brought up 
to a high state of cultivation. Here he makes his home. Politically he 
is a Democrat. Fraternally he is a member of the I. O. O. F. He was 
married to Delia McClendon, a native of Mississippi, and to this union 
have been born six children: Henry, Myrtle, William, Minnie, John 
and Grace. Personally, Mr. McCollough owns three valuable lots and 
the firm owns two lots on Imperial Avenue, where the shop is located. 

CHARLES B. FOLSOM is one of the progressive and successful 
business men of El Centro, California, and has made many friends in 
a business and social way who esteem him for his business ability and 
personal characteristics. He is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and 
was born March 7, 1868, a son of N. R. and M. O. Folsom. He received 
his education in Nebraska, where his parents removed, and they were 
numbered among the pioneers of their locality, settling in Tekamah, 


Burt County, Nebraska, where Mr. Folsom's father and grandfather 
founded the town and county in 1854. At the age of seventeen Mr. 
Folsom started to learn the plumbing business. He resided in Omaha, 
Nebraska, for a period of twenty years where he successfully carried 
on a business. He made several trips to California and settled in Santa 
Monica. He came to El Centra in 1909. At that period the sanitary con- 
ditions were very crude and it was largely through his efforts and his 
broader knowledge along lies of sanitation that he did much to improve 
the health of his chosen community and especially in El Centro, where 
he brought health conditions up to a high state of development. In 
1910 he installed the cast iron water mains in the City of El Centro. He 
did the plumbing in all the schools in El Centro, the California Central 
Creameries, which is the most modern in Southern California, as well 
as many of the business blocks and handsome residences in this city. 
He has always taken an active part in the civic development of El 
Centro. He has held membership in the Chamber of Commerce since 
its organization. He is at present chief of the El Centro Fire Depart- 
ment. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Masonic Lodge, holding mem- 
bership in the Blue Lodge and Chapter, and is also a Knight Templar 
and Shriner. The ancestors of Mr. Folsom are among those who came 
to this country in the Mayflower and settled in the New England states 
and their offspring settled in New York state. 

WILLIAM KELLY. — One of the representative business men of El 
Centro and one who is known as honorable and has the confidence and 
esteem of his fellowmen, is William Kelly, engaged in the seed and 
nursery business at 630 Main Street, El Centro, since 1903. He can be 
termed a pioneer in Imperial County. His birth occurred at Kingston, 
Canada, August 17, 1846, a son of William and Sarah (Smith) Kelly. 
His father passed away in Kingston, Canada, some years ago, and his 
body lies in the pretty cemetery in Kingston, while his wife was buried 
near Friendship, Wisconsin. Mr. Kelly acquired a limited education in 
New York state and at the age of sixteen he sailed before the mast 
on the Great Lakes. He rose to second mate in eighteen months, and 
in the following year he enlisted in the United States Army and for 
eighteen months he fought in the Civil war. Receiving an honorable 
discharge, he took up salesmanship and traveled, and since 1874 he has 


continuously been identified with the nursery business, characterized 
by the same energetic vigor and business foresight that distinguished 
his forefathers. William Kelly came into Imperial Valley on horseback 
when only a few settlers were located here. Under adverse conditions 
he started the nursery business, and he has the honor of being the 
oldest nurseryman in Imperial County. Owing to his long activity in 
and knowledge of this business, he has succeeded while others failed. 
Fraternally Mr. Kelly is a Mason, being a member of F. & A. M. in 
El Centro. He married Miss Ada M. English March 31, 1880, a daugh- 
ter of Commodore A. and Elizabeth English. Both of her parents are 
buried in Santa Cruz. To this union has been born one son, now de- 
ceased. Their adopted daughter, Elizabeth, is now teaching at Orange, 
California. The family resides at 651 Park Avenue. 

CHARLES DOWNING.— While not a resident of Imperial County 
for as long a period as some, Charles Downing has met with a large 
measure of success since coming to this locality. He is now at the head 
of the Calexico store of the H. P. Fites Company, of which he is the 
manager. This concern has grown to be one of the city's leading enter- 
prises. In the Fites store may be found a well chosen stock of farm 
machinery of the latest and most highly improved type. The store also 
carries a complete line of harness and has the agency for the J. I. 
Case tractors and threshers. Everything that goes to make up a first- 
class establishment can be found here. Mr. Downing was born in John- 
son County, Missouri, February 17, 1884. He acquired his education in 
the public schools. Finishing his education he engaged in farming for 
himself in Missouri and Oklahoma. In 1913 Mr. Downing came to 
California and located in El Centro, where he worked for the Delta 
Implement Company for a period of four years. He then became con- 
nected with his present concern, of which he is local manager in Cal- 
exico. Fraternally Air. Downing is a member of the Modern Woodmen. 

ROLAND D. KINNEY is an enterprising and enthusiastic business 
man of Calexico. Roland D. Kinney is intimately associated with the 
automobile business in Imperial County. He traveled extensively and 
has devoted his energies to this line of endeavor. He is a native of Aus- 
tin, Texas; his birth occurred July 27, 1890, a son of Daniel and Beu- 



lah H. Kinney. He acquired his education in the public and high 
schools, after which he studied the automobile business and became 
proficient at that trade. He worked in Dallas, Texas, and later engaged 
in business in that city. In 1914 he left Dallas and came to California, 
locating in Long Beach, where he had the management of the Mission 
Garage for a period of three years. Coming to Calexico he became 
identified with the motor service garage with Samuel Dick, now in the 
United States Army, and C. J. Medberry, Jr., of Los Angeles, Califor- 
nia. Mr. Medberry is president and Mr. Kinney is secretary and man- 
ager of the corporation. Fraternally Mr. Kinney is a member of the 
B. P. O. E. of Long Beach, California. He was united in marriage in 
Colorado Springs to Miss Adeline Price, a native of Colorado, Janu- 
ary 25, 1910, a daughter of Thomas A. and Mary Price. Her mother is 
deceased and her father is a resident of Wyoming. Mr. Kinney is a 
thorough business man and a public-spirited citizen, and is held in the 
highest esteem by his associates. 

FRANK H. McIVER is an active representative of business interests 
in Imperial County. He is successfully filling the office of secretary of 
the Imperial Irrigation District, with offices at Fifth and State Streets, 
El Centro, California, since 1916. He is a man of enterprise and ability 
and is an active factor in the promotion of activities of his chosen 
county. Mr. Mclver was born in Denver, Colorado, September 3, 1885, 
a son of Roderick and Sarah Mclver. His father passed away in Den- 
ver in 191 3 and his mother resides in Denver, and during the winter 
makes her home in Walnut Creek, Contra Costa County, California. 
Frank H., the subject of this review, acquired his education in the 
public and high schools of Denver, graduating from the latter in 1903. 
He then learned the plumbing business and was identified with his fath- 
er in business until the death of his father. Mr. Mclver disposed of the 
business and came to El Centro, California, in 1913. For a brief period 
he was identified with the People's Abstract Company as clerk. He then 
accepted the position of assistant secretary of the Imperial Irrigation 
Company, which was organized under the laws of California in 191 1. 
In politics Mr. Mclver is a Republican. Fraternally he is a member of 
the Masonic Lodge. He was married in Denver, Colorado, May 26, 
1909, to Miss Bessie B. Berry, a daughter of Charles and Grace M. 

Vt (Q. QvuDp 



Berry. Mrs. Mclver's father was formerly secretary of the Imperial 
Irrigation District. To Mr. and Mrs. Mclver have been born two sons, 
Frank Berry and Charles Frederick. The parents of Mr. Mclver were 
natives of Scotland. Mr. and Mrs. Mclver have a large circle of 
friends and are well and favorably known in Imperial County. 

NEWTON OLIVER EMERT, who enjoys recognition as one of the 
leading, enterprising business and theatrical men in Southern Califor- 
nia, has won merited success. He has been identified with the show 
business for many years. Mr. Emert was born in Pike County, Illinois, 
December 3, 1878, a son of F. P. and Catherine Emert. He was edu- 
cated in the public schools of his native county. After acquiring his ed- 
ucation he became interested in theatrical work and operated moving 
picture shows in Pocatello, Mt. Pelia and Crawford. He traveled on the 
road for a period of three years and came to Imperial County in 1913. 
His big venture when he came to Calexico was to construct the most 
novel roof garden in the State, on top of the Harris building, which 
burned after it was completed but six weeks. On the opening night 
there were fifteen hundred people in attendance. The roof garden had 
many innovations for the accommodation of the lovers of the silent 
drama and dancing. Everything was at their command for a good time, 
especially during the heated term. The ladies could come here at their 
will in the afternoon and sew and chat and pass their opinions upon the 
wonderfully pleasant entertainments during the evenings. After the fire 
Mr. Emert erected the Emert Theatre, and after Mr. Carr had com- 
pleted the Majestic Theatre, Mr. Emert and Mr. O'Neil leased this 
handsome show house, which is equal in comparison with the show 
places of the large cities. Fraternally, Mr. Emert is a member of the 
Modern Woodmen. He was twice married, the first union was to Miss 
Iva Lezeart, and her death occurred July 9, 1909. The second marriage 
was to Mary O'Neil, a daughter of Andrew and Catherine O'Neil, resi- 
dents of Ontario, Canada. The father of Mr. Emert was born in Illi- 
nois, December 1, 1843. He followed contracting for many years in the 
East, and then came west, locating in San Diego, California, where he 
remained for two years. He then removed to Los Angeles, where he did 
contracting and erected over three hundred homes. He is now retired 
and living in Los Angeles. Mr. Emert, Sr., married twice, his first wife, 



Artessie Green, died many years ago. The second marriage was to 
Catherine Elizabeth Parker, and nine children have been born, five of 
whom are living. Mr. Emert's grandfather was a veteran of the war of 
1812 and the family dates back to Revolutionary stock. Mr. Emert's 
father had two brothers in the Civil war, one wounded while in action 
and died from the effects of injuries received, and the other brother 
returned. Mr. Emert is foremost in promoting the interests of the com- 
munity ; has the best shows that can be procured, and has the high es- 
teem of all who know him. 

JOHN S. LAREW. — John S. Larew, who has been actively engaged 
in practice as attorney at El Centro, California, since 1909, is an able 
and representative member of his profession. Mr. Larew was born near 
Red Sulphur Springs, Monroe County, West Virginia, December 15, 
1862, a son of John M. and Sarah S. (Peters) Larew. He acquired his 
education in the public schools. At the age of seventeen Mr. Larew be- 
gan to teach and continued in this vocation in the public schools of 
Monroe County, West Virginia, until he was twenty-one years old. He 
then went to Kansas, where he taught for one year. In 1885 he removed 
to California and taught school until 1893. He then entered the office 
of his brother, W. H. Larew, in Madera, an attorney of that city, and 
studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1895. In 1898 he went to 
Washington, D. C, and was admitted to practice before the Supreme 
Court of the United States. Returning to California, Mr. Larew en- 
gaged in the practice of law in Mariposa County from 1896 to 1909, 
and from November, 1909, he has been identified with Imperial County, 
with offices in El Centro. During his residence in Mariposa County Mr. 
Larew served as a member of the County Board of Education. He also 
served for six years preceding his leaving Mariposa County as inspec- 
tor of the Masonic district embracing Mariposa County, and for five 
years he was master of Mariposa Lodge No. 24, F. & A. M. In his re- 
ligious views he is a member of the Presbyterian Church and has been 
an elder of his church for the past eight years. He was married in Riv- 
erside, California, September 14, 1916, to Lizzie Wright Daniel, of 
Louisville, Kentucky, a daughter of C. V. and Ella Daniel. Her father 
served as a Union soldier and Mr. Larew's father fought on the side 
of the Confederacy. His grandfather, Col. Peters, fought in the War 


of 1812. Mr. and Mrs. Larew reside at 641 State Street, El Centro. Mr. 
Larew has done much in the promotion of many worthy causes that 
will be of material benefit to the community. 

JAMES WILLIAM BRAGG.— One of the strong, forceful and re- 
sourceful men, active and energetic among the pioneers of Imperial 
County, is James William Bragg of Calexico. He is an active factor 
in business circles and is regarded as one of the enterprising and pro- 
gressive men of the community in many ways. Mr. Bragg is a native of 
Missouri and was born March 4, i860, a son of Samuel Henry and 
Sarah (Moore-Smith) Bragg, who were the parents of eleven children, 
seven of whom are still living. Mr. Bragg's father came to Imperial 
Valley owing to his health, and his death occurred in April, 191 1, and 
his wife passed away in April, 1917. The parents and two sisters of Mr. 
Bragg are buried in the cemetery of El Centro. James William Bragg 
received a limited education in the country school. He assisted on the 
home place and attended school during the winter months. When he 
became of age he bought eighty acres near Wichita, Kansas. Here he 
remained until he removed to Calexico, California. Mr. Bragg came to 
the Valley to seek better climatic conditions for his wife. Mr. Bragg 
worked at ranching for one year and then purchased forty acres ; he 
remained on the ranch until 1913. He then resided. in Holtville for two 
years and has made his home in Calexico since. He married Laura 
Victoria Tear, a native of Illinois, March 29, 1885, and to this union 
have been born five children : Lorena, wife of W. F. Hannaford ; her 
birth occurred in Kansas, September 29, 1889, and her one son, William 
Fiske Hannaford, Jr., was born March 17, 1916; Floyd Lawson, born 
March 14, 1892, married Muriel J. Hevener, March 12, 1913, and their 
one son, James Floyd, was born February 25, 1914. Hazel Marguerite, 
born in Kansas, November 4, 1894, now in training for a nurse in Cali- 
fornia Hospital, Los Angeles, California ; Alice, born February 28, 
1898, now in the music department of Varney Brothers' store ; John, 
born August 4, 1905, at home. Mr. Bragg is an active worker in the 
ranks of the Prohibition party and the family are members of the 
Methodist Church. Fraternally Mr. Bragg is a member of the Modern 
Woodmen. Mr. and Mrs. Bragg have a wide circle of friends in Im- 
perial County. 



J. W. PERRINS has, by his own energy and enterprise, worked his 
way upward and is one of Imperial County's representative business 
men. He is manager of Brydon Brothers Harness & Saddlery Com- 
pany, Inc., of El Centro, California. He was born at Berkeley, Califor- 
nia, November 25, 1888, a son of J. E. Perrins, one of the substantial 
men of the Bay section. Mr. Perrins received his education in the pub- 
lic schools of Los Angeles and later attended business college. After 
his schooling he served his apprenticeship at the leather business. He 
worked in Los Angeles for a time and was connected with his father 
and then engaged in business for himself, remaining in Los Angeles 
from 1893 to 1915. In 1912 he engaged with Brydon Brothers of Los 
Angeles as bookkeeper and filled other positions with this firm. He was 
given the management of the El Centro branch and has filled this po- 
sition to the entire satisfaction of his firm. In his political views he is 
a Democrat. Mr. Perrins was married in Los Angeles, June 9, 1908, to 
Miss Josie Tull, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Tull, residents of 
Hollywood. One daughter has been born to Mr. and Mrs. Perrins, 
Rosemary. Mr. Perrins' ancestors were originally from England. 

WILLIAM J. PURCELL of El Centro has been actively engaged in 
the real estate and livestock business since 1909. Ceaseless industry, 
supplemented by sound judgment, has rendered possible the success 
gained by Mr. Purcell. Ten years have elapsed since he came to Im- 
perial County, and Mr. Purcell may be termed a pioneer. He was iden- 
tified with the Southern Pacific and was transferred to Imperial in 
1907, where he used a box car for an office, passenger station and bag- 
gage room. He worked under these conditions for two years, and, see- 
ing the possibilities in this section, he resigned and took a position with 
the California Cream and Butter Company. By close application to 
business he eventually became identified with the livestock business for 
himself, and later the real estate line was engaged in. Unaided, and 
through his energy, he has risen to be one of Imperial County's leading 
business men. Mr. Purcell was born at Kilburn, Wisconsin, August 29, 
1881, a son of John J. and Mary (Tanguey) Purcell, both still resid- 
ing in Kilburn, Wisconsin. The subject of our review received his edu- 
cation in the public and high schools of his native town, graduating 
from the high school at the age of eighteen. He took up telegraphy and 

^UU /Tflujtt 



was identified with various railroads in that capacity until he came to 
Imperial Valley. Politically Mr. Purcell is a Republican. His parents 
originally came from Ireland, but were of old American descent. Mr. 
Purcell resides at the Oregon Hotel. He is a genial and companionable 
man and his success has been well deserved. 

CHARLES H. RUTH, who enjoys recognition as one of the leading 
and enterprising business men of Imperial County, has won merited 
success as the inventor of the Ruth dredger. Ambition, energy and pro- 
gressive spirit have brought Charles H. Ruth to a position of promi- 
nence and distinction. He was born in Osborne, Kansas, November 24, 
1871, a son of Richard and Sarah Ruth. His father was a tailor by 
trade and was numbered among the substantial citizens of his locality. 
Both parents of Mr. Ruth are deceased and buried in Osborne, Kansas. 
Charles H. acquired his schooling in Kansas. He followed farming for 
a time and later took up the blacksmith trade. At the age of twenty-two 
he engaged in business in Downs, Kansas, for a period of seven years. 
In 1903 he came to Brawley, where he followed farming for one year 
and then for about a year he followed teaming. Mr. Ruth then engaged 
in the blacksmith business. He invented the celebrated Ruth dredger for 
cleaning and building new ditches. This device was conceived and de- 
veloped and patented by Mr. Ruth. In the face of existing conditions 
and in competition with all other methods and machines in use, the 
Ruth dredger made its advent in Imperial County, and in the center of 
the greatest continuously irrigated area in the United States. This ma- 
chine combines economy, efficiency and durability of construction not 
equaled by any other make of dredger. Eighteen of the Ruth dredgers 
are operating in the Imperial Valley alone. Mr. Ruth has received testi- 
monials from the most practical and eminent irrigation men as well as 
prominent engineers in various parts of the country. The first Ruth 
dredger, put out in 1908, is in good condition today, and has been in use 
almost constantly, and much of the time it has operated night and day. 
Mr. Ruth was united in marriage to Grace D. Robb, a native of Kan- 
sas, May 22, 1901. To this union have been born four children, three of 
whom are living — Harold M., Charles E., Ellen M. and Florence, who 
died in infancy. Mrs. Ruth is a daughter of Rev. E. P. Robb, a resident 
of Bethel, California. 


JAMES A. ROBISON. — One of the prominent business men of South- 
ern California is a man to whom success has come as a result of un- 
faltering determination, untiring industry, energy and enterprise, for 
he has worked his way upward to the success which he now enjoys. 
Mr. Robison has been manager of the California Central Creameries 
since 191 5. He is a native of Barrackville, West Virginia. His birth oc- 
curred March 3, 1875, a son of James Z. and Martha E. (Floyd)l Rob- 
ison. He acquired his education in the public schools of Fairmont, West 
Virginia, and later took a four-year agricultural course and graduated 
from that department in Wisconsin. He became an instructor in that 
course in the University of Wisconsin. He was the organizer for the 
Creamery Package Manufacturing Company, and did much to place 
various creameries on a paying basis until 1904. In 1905 he removed to 
Phoenix, Arizona, where he was identified with the Maricopa Cream- 
ery as manager for a period of two years. He then took the manage- 
ment of the De Laval Dairy Supply Company in Los Angeles until 
1909, when he came to the Imperial Valley and erected and operated 
the creamery at Brawley. The creamery was operated under the name 
of the Imperial Valley Creamery Company. Mr. Robison also erected a 
creamery at El Centro, and one at Holtville, and in the fall of 191 5 he 
disposed of his holdings. The various plants were merged under the 
name of the California Central Creameries. Fraternally he is affiliated 
with the Knights of Pythias. He was united in marriage to Miss Flor- 
ence Stewart of Phoenix, Arizona, February 27, 1907, and one son, 
Raymond, has been born to them. It can be said of James A. Robison 
that he has been an active factor in the commercial circles of Imperial 
County and he is regarded as one of the enterprising and progressive 
men of the community. He endured many hardships and the establish- 
ments that he has erected are among the best in California. Mr. and 
Mrs. Robison have a host of friends in the Imperial Valley. 

FRED C. MORSE (deceased) was numbered among the staunch and 
enterprising business men of Imperial County, and he was highly es- 
teemed among his fellowmen. Mr. Morse was progressive and capable 
and his death was mourned by a wide circle of friends. Mr. Morse was 
born in Red Bluff, California, April 18, 1891. He acquired his educa- 
tion in the public schools of Los Angeles. Finishing his education, he 



entered the employ of the Hoffman Hardware Company of that city, 
where he remained for a period of six years. He concentrated upon his 
business affairs, and won the confidence of all who came in contact 
with him. He also was identified with the Pacific Hardware Company 
for three years. Mr. Morse engaged in the auto service supply business 
in El Centro and later transferred his interests to the present location, 
741 Main Street. He was united in marriage to Miss Madeline Ward, 
September 14, 191 1. To this union has been born one son, Fred C. 
Morse, Jr., born November 6, 1912. The management of the business 
is under the personal supervision of Ellis F. Ward, brother of Mrs. 
Morse. Ellis F. was born in Los Angeles January 19, 1901. He is a 
son of Ellis F. and Marie (Romero) Ward. He attended the public 
schools of San Diego. Finishing his high school education, he became 
associated with Mr. Morse, and after his death, which occurred April 
6, 1917, took the management of his business affairs. Mrs. Morse takes 
an active interest in the social affairs of El Centro and is a member 
of the Federated Woman's Clubs. 

WILLIAM W. MASTEN — No section of the country can boast of a 
more sturdy and courageous band of pioneers than Imperial County, 
but not all of the early settlers of this section had the courage of their 
convictions to such an extent as had William W. Masten. The enter- 
prise to which a community owes its importance in an industrial and 
commercial way are those which build up and develop its resources. In 
this connection mention should be made of Mr. Masten. He is one of 
the county's leading business men, and he came to the county Decem- 
ber 25, 1900. He was born April 10, 1853, in Pennsylvania, a son of 
John W. and Mary Elizabeth Masten; both parents were natives of 
Dutchess County, New York. The genealogy of the family dates back 
before the Revolutionary war. William W. received his education in 
Iowa, where his parents moved when he was young. His father was a 
pioneer in Iowa and took up a homestead and became one of the first 
business men in his locality. William W. assisted on the home place 
until he was twenty-six years of age. He studied nights after a hard 
day's work and was self-educated. Leaving home he bought land from 
the railroad company and farmed for three years. He then went to 
northwest Nebraska, where he took up prairie land and improved his 


holdings. Here he remained for four years. Going to Kansas he rent- 
ed on a large scale where he remained until he came to California and 
settled in San Diego, which was in 1890. Here he remained for a time 
and then went to Corona, Riverside County, where he followed farm- 
ing and contracting for ten years. He then, on December 25, 1900, 
landed in Imperial County and became engaged by the California De- 
velopment Company and was located at Cameron Lake. In six weeks 
Mr. Masten was made superintendent of the company's team work. He 
remained in this capacity ninety days. He was then given charge of the 
entire contract work, working as many as 250 head of horses on the 
ditch system. He followed this for a period of four years. He then 
developed his own section of land, fencing and cross-fencing and rais- 
ing crops. He had as high as 150 head of cattle and operated at that 
time the largest dairy in the county. In 1908 Mr. Masten disposed of 
his ranch holdings in conjunction with other work and engaged in the 
hotel business. Mr. Masten has the distinction of erecting the first 
house, hotel, meat market, bakery, and started the first transfer busi- 
ness in El Centro. Having also erected the first livery stable, he had the 
control of the livery business in the county. Mr. Masten is a Prohibi- 
tionist. He was twice married, the first union being to Miss Emma P. 
Purdy in 1878, and her death occurred in 1883; to this union were 
born John Wesley, born in 1880, now farm adviser and professor of 
agriculture, located at Reedley, California, and Charles Franklin, born 
in 1881, a graduate of the architectural school of the University of 
California, and now serving as first lieutenant in the Engineering Corps 
at Camp Kearney. He was inspector of the Wheeler Memorial Building 
of the University of California at Berkeley. 

OTTO E. OHMSTEDE.— Among the men of Imperial County who 
have done much towards the development of El Centro, is Otto E. 
Ohmstede, manager and director of the Imperial Valley Baking Com- 
pany. Since July 6, 1914, he has been actively identified with its organ- 
ization. He was born at Guide Rock, Nebraska, October 9, 1889, a son 
of John and Lucia (Suess) Ohmstede, who reside in Guide Rock. Mr. 
Ohmstede acquired his education in the public schools and Grand 
Island, Nebraska, Baptist College, leaving school at the age of nineteen. 
He assisted his father on the home farm until he came to California. 



He remained with an uncle until he came to Imperial Valley and or- 
ganized his present business, which is the largest concern of its kind 
in Imperial Valley. Their products are shipped to various points in 
California and Arizona. Fraternally Mr. Ohmstede is a loyal knight of 
the B. P. O. E. of El Centro. He was united in marriage to Miss Ethel 
Church, September 22, 1914, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R. H. Church 
of Redlands, California. Mr. Ohmstede's father was a pioneer in Ne- 
braska and his mother was in that state when the Indians were numer- 

JOHN B. TOLER. — In business circles of Seeley no name is known 
better than that of John B. Toler, one of the men whose standing has 
grown with the town and who has now a large measure of success. Mr. 
Toler is a native of Carbondale, Illinois, and was born June 13, 1874, 
a son of John W. and Harriett E. (Spiller) Toler. His mother passed 
away in December, 1889, and is buried in the Oakland Cemetery of 
Carbondale. His father is still living and resides in Carbondale. He is 
one of the pioneers of his state. John B., the subject of this review, 
secured a good educational training in the public and normal school. 
Early in life he entered the drug business with Francis A. Pricket, 
president of the State Board of Pharmacy. Here Mr. Toler became 
proficient in his chosen field. Mr. Toler came to Seeley and engaged in 
business and has been proprietor of the Seeley Drug Store since De- 
cember 15, 1913, meeting with every success. Mr. Toler's success in 
the business world has come as a direct result of his own ability and 
industry and he is known as one of Seeley's most substantial citizens. 
Fraternally he is a member of the I. O. O. F. He is also a member of 
the Auto Club of Southern California. He was united in marriage in 
Carbondale, Illinois, December 29, 1892, to Miss Pearl I. Holt, daugh- 
ter of Harry and Jane Holt, both deceased. To Mr. and Mrs. Toler 
have been born two children : Awanda, wife of Orman J. Lewis of 
Carbondale, Illinois ; and Francis B., a cotton buyer. Mr. Toler has 
the respect and esteem of his business associates and both he and his 
wife have a large circle of friends. 

CLARENCE JOHN PARK. — Prominent among the representative 
men of Brawley may be mentioned Clarence John Park, who came to 



Imperial County in 1907. He is enterprising and progressive, and is 
essentially a self-made man. Mr. Park was born March 24, 1877, a son 
of Hiland H. and Lydia (Putnam) Park. His parents settled in Wis- 
consin in 1852, coming from Vermont, where his ancestors settled pre- 
vious to the Revolutionary war. Mr. Park is eligible to join the Sons 
of the American Revolution, on both sides of the family. Mr. Park's 
parents are both deceased and are buried in Dodge Corners, Wiscon- 
sin. The subject of this review attended the schools of Springfield, Mis- 
souri, where he entered Drury College. At the age of twenty he went 
to Colorado, where he worked at surveying. Later he went to Montana 
and assisted in the survey of the Burlington Missouri Railroad. He 
worked in the surveying department on various railroads in Missouri, 
Arkansas, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona. 
In 1905 he removed to Los Angeles, where he followed his profession 
until he came to Imperial County as United States deputy surveyor for 
the re-survey of the county, in the summer of 1907. Mr. Park then 
opened an office which he has maintained, except in 1912, when he 
was appointed superintendent of Water Company No. 5 of Holtville. 
Mr. Park settled on a homestead eleven miles east of Brawley. Here 
he has erected substantial buildings and is putting his land under culti- 
vation. Fraternally Mr. Park is affiliated with the Masonic Lodge. He 
is a thirty-second degree Mason, a member of the Consistory of Los 
Angeles, and holds membership in the Al Mel Aika Temple of Los An- 
geles. He served as the first master of Brawley Lodge. From 1910 to 
1913 he was inspector of the Blue Lodges of Imperial County. He is 
past patron of the Alamo Chapter of the Eastern Star of Brawley. Mr. 
Park was married in Petersburg, Tennessee, October 17, 1912, to 
Miss Bertice Hart, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. B. F. Hart of Peters- 
burg, Tenessee. To Mr. and Mrs. Park have been born one son, Jean 
H., born July 7, 1913. 

DAN VOORHEES NOLAND.— Energy, ability and well directed 
ambition, guided and controlled by sound judgment, have constituted 
the foundation upon which Dan Voorhees Noland has built his suc- 
cess, and is numbered among the leading representatives of his pro- 
fession. Mr. Noland is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana, his birth oc- 
curring January 20, 1875, a son of Henry D. and Lucy (Sebrell)' No- 



land. His father passed away and was buried in Riverside, California, 
and his mother makes her home in El Centra. Mr. Noland acquired his 
education in the public and high schools of Riverside, California, after 
which he entered Franklin College in Indiana. He also attended Stan- 
ford University, entering the law department. Later he read law with 
W. H. Chamberlain of San Francisco, and was admitted to the bar in 
1903. Returning to Riverside, Mr. Noland began the practice of law 
and remained in that city for one year. He then went to Las Vegas, 
Nevada, where he practiced his profession for three years. He came to 
El Centro when it had a population of eight hundred people. Here he 
has met with every success. He may be termed a self-made man. He 
is broad and liberal-minded, absolutely fair, and impartial in his judi- 
cial actions. Fraternally Mr. Noland is a member of the K. of P. and 
is a Royal Arch Mason. In his political allegiance he votes for the best 
man, irrespective of party. Mr. Noland was married June 15, 1904, at 
Riverside, California, to Miss Ella D. Arbuckle, a daughter of James 
and Annabelle Arbuckle of Pictou, Nova Scotia. Both of Mrs. Noland's 
parents are buried at Pictou, Nova Scotia. To Mr. and Mrs. Noland 
have been born three daughters: Muriel S., Margaret R., and Dana 
Annabel, all attending school. The ancestors of Mr. Noland are of 
Irish descent. His grandfather was born in Kentucky and his father 
was a native of Indiana. Mr. Noland was a volunteer and saw service 
in the Spanish-American war. Whether in business or social relations, 
he holds the good will and confidence of all who are associated with 

CYRUS CHALMERS MARSHALL.— On the roster of county offi- 
cials of Imperial County appears the name of Cyrus Chalmers Mar- 
shall, who, following a period of efficient and capable service as city 
marshal of Brawley, was appointed by the city commissioners in 
March, 191 5, to this important position. Mr. Marshall was born in 
Cairo, Southeastern Iowa, April 15, 1861, a son of William H. and 
Rachel Marshall. His father was a native of Ohio, while his mother 
was born in Iowa, both parents deceased. Cyrus C. acquired his educa- 
tion in the public schools of Iowa. He learned the butcher trade with 
his father, who had followed this vocation for many years. Early in 
life Mr. Marshall went to western Kansas, where he drove stages in 



Comanche County for three years. He afterwards engaged in the 
livery business in Kansas and Oklahoma for many years. For eight 
years Mr. Marshall was identified with the sheriff's office in Pawnee 
County, Oklahoma. While serving in this capacity he took part in one 
of the most notable bank robberies that ever occurred in the state. It 
was the bank robber's last "job." When Chal Marshall, as he was 
called in Oklahoma, left his home in Jennings to serve some official 
papers, he had no idea what the day had in store for him in the way 
of a battle with "Tom" Jordan, the Cherokee outlaw and bank robber. 
Mr. Marshall had been an officer in the west for over twenty-five years 
and he saw much service in the "wild and woolly" days in Kansas. 
When Mr. Marshall reached the railroad station he was handed a mes- 
sage stating a telephone message was awaiting him at Mannford. Mr. 
Marshall caught the train and was soon in the town. He was soon talk- 
ing to a farmer over the telephone who said he would come to town 
and give him important news. When the farmer arrived in town he 
confided to Mr. Marshall that between two and three o'clock that af- 
ternoon "Tom" Jordan and his partner, "Tom" Phemis, would ride 
into the town of Keystone and rob the Keystone State Bank. Phemis 
did not take part in the robbery, but at the given time Jordan arrived 
on the scene. Mr. Marshall had gone in the bank by the rear door and 
took a position back of the stove. He was determined to take his pris- 
oner alive, and get the outlaw's story, which would put irons on a score 
of men. Jordan appeared at the cashier's window and demanded the 
cashier to turn over what he had. "Hand over what you've got," and 
"throw up your hands," shouted Marshall. Jordan began shooting, but 
before he could raise his pistol for a second shot Mr. Marshall demand- 
ed he throw up his hands and fired to hit Jordan in the right shoulder 
to "break down" his pistol arm. The bullet hit the mark, but the sting 
of the bullet did not stop Jordan and he fired four more shots at Mr. 
Marshall, the second bullet ranging fourteen and the fifth bullet thirty- 
eight inches to the right of Mr. Marshall's head. Jordan rushed to the 
street and was killed by shots fired by a dozen men. Mr. Marshall re- 
ceived $300 from the bankers' association for his bravery and gallant 
work. The banker presented Mr. Marshall with a costly new service 
Colt revolver with mother of pearl handle and a bull's head hand- 
somely engraved on the handle. Mr. Marshall came to California and 



engaged in the dairy business at Redondo Beach for one year and then 
engaged in the hotel business in Anaheim for about a year. Coming to 
Brawley in March, 191 5, he was made city marshal, which office he has 
held since. Fraternally he is a member of the Masonic Lodge of Okla- 
homa, he being a Knight Templar. His lodge presented him with a 
handsome Masonic ring when he left Pawnee County. He is also a 
member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. Mr. Marshall was 
married May 16, 1887, to Lizzie G. Crissman, a native of Illinois. Their 
three children are : William F., now in the United States Infantry, lo- 
cated in the Canal Zone ; Cora Armina, a school teacher, and Elizabeth 
Lucile, at home. Mrs. Marshall and oldest daughter are members of 
the Eastern Star. 

GROVER C. KEMP, present chief of the police department of Calex- 
ico, is a highly trained, well-informed officer who is eminently fitted 
for the important position which he holds. Mr. Kemp was born in Har- 
rison County, Missouri, September 2, 1885. A son of William R. and 
Clara M. Kemp, who are both natives of Missouri. Grover C. acquired 
his education in the public and high schools of Missouri. The family 
removed to South Texas, where the father was identified in the cattle 
business. Mr. Kemp assisted his father for a time when he went to 
Oklahoma, then Indian Territory. For some years he was in the cattle 
business and he then decided to cast his lot with the Golden State. He 
came one year previous to his family. His parents came to Calexico 
four years ago, and engaged in the hotel business. Mr. Kemp's mother 
passed away in February, 1915, and his father now resides in Oklaho- 
ma. On his arrival in Calexico, Mr. Kemp engaged on the railroad. 
However, after a time he went back to Oklahoma where he remained 
a few months. On his return to Calexico, he became identified with the 
police department. Resigning after a time he went back to railroad 
work, and after the change in city affairs he returned and worked 
nights on the police department for one year. In April, 1916, Mr. Kemp 
was made chief of the department, which office he now holds to the en- 
tire satisfaction of the community. Fraternally he is affiliated with the 
Masonic Lodge. He was united in marriage July 14, 1902, to Maudie 
E. Love, a native of Kansas. To this union have been born five chil- 
dren : Homer Allen, Lloyd Ernest, Ruby Irene, Harry and Edith. Mrs. 

4 i4 


Kemp's father is one of the leading ranchers and stockmen in Oklaho- 
ma and recognized as a representative man of his locality. Mr. and 
Mrs. Kemp have a wide circle of friends and give their support to 
movements which have for their purpose the advancement of Calexico 
and Imperial County. 

JANUS R. FORD is numbered among the esteemed citizens of Im- 
perial County. He has held the position of secretary and manager of the 
Imperial County Title Company since October, 1915. Mr. Ford was 
born near Clinton, Missouri, March 21, 1887, a son of William B. and 
Virginia C. (Slack) Ford. He received his education in the public 
schools and Missouri University. In June, 191 1, he left college and 
traveled extensively throughout the western states. He came to Cali- 
fornia January 1, 1912, and located in Los Angeles, and became identi- 
fied with the Title Insurance & Trust Company of that city for a period 
of two years. During that time he attended night school, where he 
studied law and was admitted to the Bar in January, 1914. He served 
as attorney for the Imperial Title Guaranty and Bonded Abstract Com- 
pany previous to the time it was made the Imperial County Title Com- 
pany, which was in October, 191 5. Fraternally Mr. Ford is a member 
of the Masonic Lodge and holds the office of Junior Deacon of El Cen- 
tra Lodge, No. 384. He was married in San Diego, California, March 
11, 1916, to Miss Ella Yetive Golberg, daughter of Arne S. and Marie 
Golberg, one of the representative families of that city. The father of 
Mr. Ford was a veteran of the Civil War, being attached to the Seventh 
Missouri Cavalry, and fought on the Union side. Mr. Ford's mother's 
people came from Kentucky, and her brother, William J. Slack, was a 
general in the Confederate Army and was killed in action at the battle 
of Pea Ridge. Janus R. Ford, the subject of this review, is a man of 
unusual professional ability, and has a wide circle of friends. 

WILLIAM H. PRUITT is a man of enterprise and discrimination, 
and in the course of a long and varied business career he has been 
identified with a number of important interests. Mr. Pruitt is a native 
of Butler County, Kansas ; his birth occurred April 29, 1874, son of T. 
R. and Lydia (Huff) Pruitt. His father was of French ancestry, now 
deceased, and his mother was of German birth and still living. Wil- 



liam H. was educated in the public schools of Kansas. Finishing his 
schooling, he enlisted in the Ninth United States Infantry and saw 
active service in China and the Philippines. He received an honorable 
discharge in 1903. For five years he ranched in Oklahoma and later 
moved to Prescott, Arizona. Here he clerked for a time and moved to 
San Diego, where he operated a transfer business. He disposed of the 
transfer business and engaged in the retail grocery business for two 
years. In 1914 Mr. Pruitt purchased the laundry business in Calexico 
of Judge McCollum and operated the first steam laundry in Calexico. 
Previous to taking over the Calexico laundry, Mr. Pruitt operated the 
Valley Laundry at El Centro for two years. The earthquake demolish- 
ed the laundry buildings in both places, and Mr. Pruitt erected his pres- 
ent commodious building and installed up-to-date and the most modern 
machinery in 1914. Mr. Pruitt also purchased the Valley Steam Laun- 
dry in El Centro of the late J. P. Hiel in 1912 and now operates both 
plants. He was married March 8, 1904, to Tilla Midkiff of Kansas, a 
daughter of Aaron and Mahila Midkiff. To Mr. and Mrs. Pruitt have 
been born one son, Paul, born December 21, 1914. Fraternally he is 
a member of the I. O. O. F., the K. of P. and B. P. O. E. Mr. Pruitt 
has eighty acres east of El Centro and eighty acres west of El Centro, 
which he has in corn and alfalfa. Mr. Pruitt gives his ready support to 
movements which have for their purpose the advancement of Imperial 

VIRGINIA TENNY SMITH, M. D.— A notable figure among the 
residents of the Imperial Valley is Dr. Virginia Tenny Smith, who 
came to Calipatria in 1914 from Los Angeles. The new county was 
unusually fortunate in securing a physician so experienced and skilled 
in her profession and a woman of such broad culture and personal 
charm. Virginia Tenny Smith was born March 20, i860, in old Ver- 
mont, of American parentage, but of Huguenot descent. After attend- 
ing the convent at Burlington, Vermont, she entered the medical school 
of Boston University, from which she received the degree of doctor of 
medicine in 1888. After a year's time spent as resident physician in the 
Dio Lewis Sanitarium, she located in Detroit, Mich., and devoted her 
time to private practice. But in 1907 the lure of the West became too 
strong to be resisted and she came to Los Angeles, California, where 


she remained until her removal to the Imperial Valley. Dr. Smith is an 
ex-member of the Boston Medical Association, the American Institute 
of Homeopathy, the Michigan State Medical Society, the American 
Medical Association, and the Medical Association of Southern Cali- 
fornia. Dr. Smith was the first person to purchase land from the syndi- 
cate at Calipatria, in 1914. There were other settlers in that section, 
but the doctor purchased the first forty-acre tract. Her beautiful ranch 
is equipped with every improvement known to modern ranching, and 
includes a number of labor-saving devices. She had a beautiful resi- 
dence which was destroyed by fire in October, 1917. Her home was 
filled with priceless oriental rugs and furniture from all over the world 
and was destroyed in the fire. Dr. Smith's ranch is the show place of the 
north end. She has been a conscientious and hard worker, and she is 
today a worthy representative of true Western womanhood. 

OTIS BURGESS TOUT, editor, and, with Mrs. Tout, proprietor of 
the El Centro Progress, came to Imperial Valley in 1907 from Port- 
land, Oregon, where he was engaged in newspaper reporting. Born in 
Indiana, May II, 1880, he followed his father, who was a minister in 
the Christian church, through the states of Missouri, Florida, Kansas 
and the then territory of Oklahoma. The family came to California in 
1892, went to Oregon in 1899, and to Washington the next year. In 
Eugene, Oregon, in 1900-1901, Otis attended the State University. His 
first newspaper work was on the Ashland, Oregon, Valley Record. His 
next was on the Eugene Morning Register and then on the Eugene 
Daily Guard. Acting as correspondent for the Portland Telegram, he 
was offered a city position by that paper, which he accepted. Illness 
caused him to change his occupation to writing life insurance, and in 
1905 he won a trip to Los Angeles. Bad health followed him until he 
visited his parents, who were then in Imperial, where J. F. Tout, his 
father, was pastor of the Christian church, the second minister to lo- 
cate in Imperial Valley, then almost a virgin desert. The desert seemed 
to be just the place, for his health improved at once. Mr. Tout accepted 
a position as foreman in the office of the Imperial Valley Press in 
January, 1907, and in April was offered the management of the Calexi- 
co Chronicle, owned by W. F. Holt. In the county seat fight that fol- 
lowed, Calexico was credited with casting the winning votes for El 

^w~*f (Mlt^C^ 1 ** — ^ 


Centro, and Mr. Holt, who was backing El Centro, was so gratified 
that he presented the Chronicle and the equipment to Mr. Tout. In 
June, 1909, Mr. Tout was married to Mrs. Estelle May Downing, of 
El Centro. She being a practical printer, they formed a co-partnership 
in the publishing business that has endured ever since. They sold the 
Calexico Chronicle in 1912 and purchased a defunct printing plant in 
El Centro, where they started the El Centro Progress as a weekly. In 
the fall of that year it was changed to a morning daily and since that 
time has been conducted on a broad plan which has commanded ex- 
tensive patronage and financial success. Mr. and Mrs. Tout own one of 
the many handsome homes in El Centro, located at Fifth and Holt. 
Both have been in the Valley long enough to be called pioneers, and 
have played a foremost part in its development. Mr. Tout was this year 
elected Exalted Ruler of the El Centro Lodge of Elks, No. 1325. 

FRANK WITHROW.— One of the model ranches of Imperial Coun- 
ty, located in Water Company No. 8, at Brawley, and containing 560 
acres of very valuable land, is owned by Frank Withrow, the subject 
of this review. Mr. Withrow came to Imperial County, January, 1906, 
and is rightly classed among the pioneers. He is a conscientious and 
broad - minded citizen, influential in all his dealings with his fellow 
men and commands the respect of all who know him. Mr. Withrow 
was born at London, Ohio, December 15, 1868, the son of John S. and 
Ellen (Foster) Withrow. His mother died when he was in infancy and 
is buried at London, Ohio. The father of Mr. Withrow resides at 
Pomona, California. The family is of old English origin and came to 
this country long before the Revolution. The father of Mr. Withrow 
is a Civil war veteran, having fought valiantly through that tempestuous 
period. Mr. Withrow received his education in Allen County, Kansas, 
and left the country school at the age of 18 years. He attended school 
during the winter months and during the summer assisted on his 
father's ranch, remaining at home until he reached the age of 21 years. 
In 1890 Mr. Withrow came to El Paso, Texas, and engaged as air-brake 
inspector with the Southern Pacific Railroad. He followed this voca- 
tion for ten years. From El Paso Mr. Withrow went to Bakersfield, 
California, in 1900, and while in this city engaged as a tool dresser in 
the oil fields, where he remained for four years. Then he embarked 


upon a new venture and followed rice growing in south Texas for two 
seasons with success. Later he came to the Imperial Valley and rented 
about 640 acres of land for the purpose of raising barley and hogs. 
This proved to be a great success and he filed on 320 acres in Cali- 
patria, which is now used for truck growing and which has been 
brought up to a high state of cultivation. Mr. Withrow is making his 
home on the 320 acres, having previously sold 80 acres of the Cali- 
patria land. On his home ranch Mr. Withrow devotes his time and 
energies to the raising of barley and alfalfa, and has made extensive im- 
provements about the place which are attractive in the extreme. His 
land is all irrigated according to the most modern methods. Incidental- 
ly, Mr. Withrow is a director of the Brawley creamery and cold storage 
company. When he votes he affixes his mark after the best and most 
deserving man on the ballot. He is a member of the Blue Lodge of 
Masons of Brawley. Mr. Withrow was married at Colorado Springs, 
Colorado, September 20, 1913, to Mrs. Blanche E. Wilbur of Los 

FRANK ALLEN. — Imperial County has been the magnet which has 
drawn to these fertile borders men with broad and conservative views 
on ranching and agriculture in general. One of those who early took 
advantage of the glowing opportunities which this county afforded so 
generously was Frank Allen, owner of an 80-acre ranch in No. 8 water 
district. Mr. Allen, the subject of this review, came to Imperial county 
October 31, 1904, and was born in Saginaw County, Michigan, May 23, 
1869, the son of Augustus A. and Pearlette Allen, who came from New 
York State to Michigan in the early days, where they pioneered and 
later resided at Saginaw. Both passed away and are buried at Good- 
rich, Michigan. The family was of old Yankee stock, coming to the 
country long before the Revolution. The famous General Ethan Allen, 
is one of the ancestors of Mr. Allen. Mr. Allen's father, incidentally, 
fought during the Civil war. Frank Allen received his early education 
at Saginaw, Michigan, leaving high school at the age of 17 years. He 
then worked about the saw-mills and along the boom and river in Sag- 
inaw valley until he reached the age of 22 years, when he married. 
Later he opened a harness shop, carrying on the business for four 
years. Following this venture, Mr. Allen purchased an old homestead 



of his grandparents and cultivated and farmed the land until he came 
to Imperial County. Upon his arrival here he bought the present prop- 
erty, which was a desert claim of forty acres. In 1914 he added another 
forty acres to his holdings, also a desert holding, which he brought to a 
high state of cultivation. The subject of this review was superintendent 
of Water Company No. 8 for one year. Mr. Allen's agricultural under- 
takings include the harvesting of grapes, barley and corn, and in gen- 
eral he is meeting with a great deal of success in this line of endeavor. 
Politically it might be stated that Mr. Allen has very pronounced views 
on this subject and can always be found voting conscientiously for the 
man best suited for the position. Fraternally Mr. Allen is affiliated with 
the Maccabees. He was married at Saginaw, Michigan, on February 19, 
1 891, to Miss Emma Peeim of Saginaw. Two children are the result of 
this union: Pearl, wife of Earl Robinson, a rancher near Rockwood, 
California, Mrs. Robinson being a graduate of the Brawley high school, 
and Stella, wife of L. W. Ballard, of Brawley. Mrs. Ballard is also a 
graduate of the Brawley high school and has two children, Lewis and 
Albert Verne. 

WILLIAM M. PICKENS, now filling the office of captain of police 
and deputy sheriff of Calexico, is recognized as one of the efficient and 
untiring officers of